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by Henry Theophilus Finck

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Title: Primitive Love and Love-Stories

Author: Henry Theophilus Finck

Release Date: April 7, 2004 [EBook #11934]

Language: English

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On page 654 of the present volume reference is made to a custom
prevalent in northern India of employing the family barber to select
the boys and girls to be married, it being considered too trivial and
humiliating an act for the parents to attend to. In pronouncing such a
custom ludicrous and outrageous we must not forget that not much more
than a century ago an English thinker, Samuel Johnson, expressed the
opinion that marriages might as well be arranged by the Lord
Chancellor without consulting the parties concerned. Schopenhauer had,
indeed, reason to claim that it had remained for him to discover the
significance and importance of love. His ideas on the relations
between love, youth, health, and beauty opened up a new vista of
thought; yet it was limited, because the question of heredity was only
just beginning to be understood, and the theory of evolution, which
has revolutionized all science, had not yet appeared on the horizon.

The new science of anthropology, with its various branches, including
sociology, ethnology, and comparative psychology, has within the last
two or three decades brought together and discussed an immense number
of facts relating to man in his various stages of
development--savagery, barbarism, semi-civilization, and civilization.
Monographs have appeared in great numbers on various customs and
institutions, including marriage, which has been discussed in several
exhaustive volumes. Love alone has remained to be specially considered
from an evolutionary point of view. My own book, _Romantic Love and
Personal Beauty_, which appeared in 1887, did indeed touch upon this
question, but very briefly, inasmuch as its subject, as the title
indicates, was modern romantic love. A book on such a subject was
naturally and easily written _virginibus puerisque_; whereas the
present volume, being concerned chiefly with the love-affairs of
savages and barbarians, could not possibly have been subjected to the
same restrictions. Care has been taken, however, to exclude anything
that might offend a healthy taste.

If it has been necessary in some chapters to multiply unpleasant
facts, the reader must blame the sentimentalists who have so
persistently whitewashed the savages that it has become necessary, in
the interest of truth, to show them in their real colors. I have
indeed been tempted to give my book the sub-title "A Vindication of
Civilization" against the misrepresentations of these sentimentalists
who try to create the impression that savages owe all their depravity
to contact with whites, having been originally spotless angels. If my
pictures of the unadulterated savage may in some cases produce the
same painful impression as the sights in a museum's "chamber of
horrors," they serve, on the other hand, to show us that, bad as we
may be, collectively, we are infinitely superior in love-affairs, as
in everything else, to those primitive peoples; and thus we are
encouraged to hope for further progress in the future in the direction
of purity and altruism.

Although I have been obliged under the circumstances to indulge in a
considerable amount of controversy, I have taken great pains to state
the views of my opponents fairly, and to be strictly impartial in
presenting facts with accuracy. Nothing could be more foolish than the
ostrich policy, so often indulged in, of hiding facts in the hope that
opponents will not see them. Had I found any data inconsistent with my
theory I should have modified it in accordance with them. I have also
been very careful in regard to my authorities. The chief cause of the
great confusion reigning in anthropological literature is that, as a
rule, evidence is piled up with a pitchfork. Anyone who has been
anywhere and expressed a globe-trotter's opinion is cited as a
witness, with deplorable results. I have not only taken most of my
multitudinous facts from the original sources, but I have critically
examined the witnesses to see what right they have to parade as
experts; as in the cases, for instance, of Catlin, Schoolcraft,
Chapman, and Stephens, who are responsible for many "false facts" that
have misled philosophers.

In writing a book like this the author's function is comparable to
that of an architect who gets his materials from various parts of the
world and fashions them into a building of more or less artistic
merit. The anthropologist has to gather his facts from a greater
variety of sources than any other writer, and from the very nature of
his subject he is obliged to quote incessantly. The following pages
embody the results of more than twelve years' research in the
libraries of America and Europe. In weaving my quotations into a
continuous fabric I have adopted a plan which I believe to be
ingenious, and which certainly saves space and annoyance. Instead of
citing the full titles of books every time they are referred to either
in the text or in footnotes, I merely give the author's name and the
page number, if only one of his books is referred to; and if there are
several books, I give the initials--say Brinton, _M.N.W_., 130; which
means Brinton's _Myths of the New World_, page 130. The key to the
abbreviations will be found at the end of the volume in the
bibliography, which also includes an author's index, separate from the
index of subjects. This avoids the repetition of titles or of the
customary useless "_loc. cit_.," and spares the reader the annoyance
of constant interruption of his reading to glance at the bottom of the

Not a few of the critics of my first book, ignoring the difference
between a romantic love-story and a story of romantic love, fancied
they could refute me by simply referring to some ancient romantic
story. To prevent a repetition of that procedure I have adorned these
pages with a number of love-stories, adding critical comments wherever
called for. These stories, I believe, augment, not only the interest
but the scientific value of the monograph. In gathering them I have
often wondered why no one anticipated me, though, to be sure, it was
not an easy task, as they are scattered in hundreds of books, and in
scientific periodicals where few would look for them. At the same time
I confess that to me the tracing of the plot of the evolution of love,
with its diverse obstacles, is more fascinating than the plot of an
individual love-story. At any rate, since we have thousands of such
love-stories, I am perhaps not mistaken in assuming that _the story of
love itself_ will be welcomed as a pleasant change. H.T.F.

NEW YORK, October 27, 1899.



     Origin of a Book
     Skeptical Critics
     Robert Burton
     Hegel on Greek Love
     Shelley on Greek Love
     Macaulay, Bulwer-Lytton, Gautier
     Goldsmith and Rousseau
     Love a Compound Feeling
     Herbert Spencer's Analysis
     Active Impulses Must be Added
     Sensuality the Antipode of Love
     The Word Romantic
     Animals Higher than Savages
     Love the Last, Not the First, Product of Civilization
     Plan of this Volume
     Greek Sentimentality
     Importance of Love


     No Love of Romantic Scenery
     No Love in Early Religion
     Murder as a Virtue
     Slaughter of the Innocents
     Honorable Polygamy
     Curiosities of Modesty
     Indifference to Chastity
     Horror of Incest


     Ingredients of Love.


          All Girls Equally Attractive
          Shallow Predilection
          Repression of Preference
          Utility versus Sentiment
          A Story of African Love
          Similarity of Individuals and Sexes
          Primary and Secondary Sexual Characters
          Fastidious Sensuality is not Love
          Two Stories of Indian Love
          Feminine Ideals Superior to Masculine
          Sex in Body and Mind
          True Femininity and its Female Enemies
          Mysteries of Love,--An Oriental Love-Story


          Juliet and Nothing but Juliet
          Butterfly Love
          Romantic Stories of Non-Romantic Love
          Obstacles to Monopolism
          Wives and Girls in Common
          Trial Marriages
          Two Roman Lovers


          Rage at Rivals
          Women as Private Property
          Horrible Punishments
          Essence of True Jealousy
          Absence of Masculine Jealousy
          Persian and Greek Jealousy
          Primitive Feminine Jealousy
          Absence of Feminine Jealousy
          Jealousy Purged of Hate
          A Virtuous Sin
          Abnormal States
          Jealousy in Romantic Love


          Women Who Woo
          Were Hebrew and Greek Women Coy?
          Masculine Coyness
          Shy but not Coy
          Militarism and Mediaeval Women
          What Made Women Coy?
          Capturing Women
          The Comedy of Mock Capture
          Why the Women Resist
          Quaint Customs
          Greek and Roman Mercenary Coyness
          Modesty and Coyness
          Utility of Coyness
          How Women Propose


          Amorous Antitheses
          Courtship and Imagination
          Effects of Sensual Love


          Girls and Flowers
          Eyes and Stars
          Locks and Fragrance
          Poetic Desire for Contact
          Nature's Sympathy with Lovers
          Romantic but not Loving
          The Power of Love


          Comic Side of Love
          A Mystery Explained
          Importance of Pride
          Varieties and Germs
          Natural and Artificial Symptoms of Love


          Egotism, Naked or Masked
          Delight in the Torture of Others
          Indifference to Suffering
          Exposing the Sick and Aged
          Birth of Sympathy
          Women Crueler than Men
          Plato Denounces Sympathy
          Sham Altruism in India
          Evolution of Sympathy
          Amorous Sympathy


          Deification of Persons
          Primitive Contempt for Women
          Homage to Priestesses
          Kinship Through Females Only
          Woman's Domestic Rule
          Woman's Political Rule
          Greek Estimate of Women
          Man-Worship and Christianity


          The Gallant Rooster
          Ungallant Lower Races of Men
          Egyptian Love
          Arabian Love
          The Unchivalrous Greeks
          Ovid's Sham Gallantry
          Mediaeval and Modern Gallantry
          "An Insult to Woman,"
          A Sure Test of Love


          The Lady and the Tiger
          A Greek Love-Story
          Persian Love
          Hero and Leander
          The Elephant and the Lotos
          Suicide is Selfish


          Erotic Assassins
          The Wisdom of Solomon
          Stuff and Nonsense
          Sacrifices of Cannibal Husbands
          Inclinations Mistaken for Affection
          Selfish Liking and Attachment
          Foolish Fondness
          Unselfish Affection


          German Testimony
          English Testimony
          Maiden Fancies
          Pathologic Love
          A Modern Sentiment
          Persians, Turks, and Hindoos
          Love Despised in Japan and China
          Greek Scorn for Woman-Love
          Penetrative Virginity


          Darwin's Unfortunate Mistake
          Decoration for Protection
          War "Decorations,"
          Amulets, Charms, Medicines
          Mourning Language
          Indications of Tribe or Rank
          Vain Desire to Attract Attention
          Objects of Tattooing
          Tattooing on Pacific Islands
          Tattooing in America
          Tattooing in Japan
          Alleged Testimony of Natives, Misleading Testimony of
          "Decoration" at the Age of Puberty
          "Decoration" as a Test of Courage
          Mutilation, Fashion, and Emulation
          Personal Beauty versus Personal Decoration
          De Gustibus non est Disputandum?
          Indifference to Dirt
          Reasons for Bathing
          Corpulence versus Beauty
          Fattening Girls for the Marriage Market
          Oriental Ideals
          The Concupiscence Theory of Beauty
          Utility is not Beauty
          A New Sense Easily Lost Again
          Moral Ugliness
          Beautifying Intelligence
          The Strange Greek Attitude


          Definition of Love
          Why called Romantic.


     Appetite and Longing
     Wiles of an Oriental Girl
     Rarity of True Love.


     How Romantic Love is Metamorphosed
     Why Savages Value Wives
     Mourning to Order
     Mourning for Entertainment
     The Truth about Widow-Burning
     Feminine Devotion in Ancient Literature
     Wives Esteemed as Mothers Only
     Why Conjugal Precedes Romantic Love


        I. Ignorance and Stupidity
       II. Coarseness and Obscenity
      III. War
       IV. Cruelty
        V. Masculine Selfishness
       VI. Contempt for Women
      VII. Capture and Sale of Brides
     VIII. Infant Marriages
       IX. Prevention of Free Choice
        X. Separation of the Sexes
       XI. Sexual Taboos
      XII. Race Aversions
     XIII. Multiplicity of Languages
      XIV. Social Barriers
       XV. Religious Prejudice


     Bushman Qualifications for Love
     "Love in all Their Marriages,"
     False Facts Regarding Hottentots
     Effeminate Men and Masculine Women
     How the Hottentot Woman "Rules at Home,"
     "Regard for Women"
     Capacity for Refined Love
     Hottentot Coarseness
     Fat versus Sentiment
     South African Love-Poems
     A Hottentot Flirt
     Kaffir Morals
     Individual Preference for--Cows, Bargaining for Brides
     Amorous Preferences
     Zulu Girls not Coy
     Charms and Poems
     A Kaffir Love-Story
     Lower than Beasts
     Colonies of Free Lovers
     A Lesson in Gallantry
     Not a Particle of Romance
     No Love Among Negroes
     A Queer Story
     Poetic Love on the Congo
     Black Love in Kamerun
     A Slave Coast Love-Story
     The Maiden who Always Refused
     African Story-Books
     The Five Suitors
     Tamba and the Princess
     The Sewing Match
     Baling out the Brook
     Proverbs about Women
     African Amazons
     Where Woman Commands
     No Chance for Romantic Love
     Pastoral Love
     Abyssinian Beauty and Flirtation
     Galla Coarseness
     Somali Love-Affairs
     Arabic Influences
     Touareg Chivalry
     An African Love-Letter


     Personal Charms of Australians
     Cruel Treatment of Women
     Were Savages Corrupted by Whites?
     Aboriginal Horrors
     Naked and not Ashamed
     Is Civilization Demoralizing?
     Aboriginal Wantonness
     Lower than Brutes
     Indifference to Chastity
     Useless Precautions
     Survivals of Promiscuity
     Aboriginal Depravity
     The Question of Promiscuity
     Why do Australians Marry?
     Curiosities of Jealousy
     Pugnacious Females
     Swapping Girls
     The Philosophy of Elopements
     Charming a Woman by Magic
     Other Obstacles to Love
     Marriage Taboos and "Incest"
     Affection for Women and Dogs
     A Horrible Custom
     Romantic Affliction
     A Lock of Hair
     Two Native Stories
     Barrington's Love-Story
     Risking Life for a Woman
     Gerstaecker's Love-Story
     Local Color in Courtship


     Where Women Propose
     Bornean Caged Girls
     Charms of Dyak Women
     Dyak Morals
     Nocturnal Courtship
     Head Hunters A-Wooing
     Fickle and Shallow Passion
     Dyak Love-Songs
     The Girl With the Clean Face
     Fijian Refinements
     How Cannibals Treat Women
     Fijian Modesty and Chastity
     Emotional Curiosities
     Fijian Love-Poems
     Serenades and Proposals
     Suicides and Bachelors
     Samoan Traits
     Courtship Pantomime
     Two Samoan Love-Stories
     Personal Charms of South Sea Islanders
     Tahitians and Their White Visitors
     Heartless Treatment of Women
     Two Stories of Tahitian Infatuation
     Captain Cook on Tahitian Love
     Were the Tongans Civilized?
     Love of Scenery
     A Cannibal Bargain
     The Handsome Chiefs
     Honeymoon in a Cave
     A Hawaiian Cave-Story
     Is this Romantic Love?
     Vagaries of Hawaiian Fondness
     Hawaiian Morals
     The Helen of Hawaii
     Intercepted Love-Letters
     Maoris of New Zealand
     The Maiden of Rotorua
     The Man on the Tree
     Love in a Fortress
     Stratagem of an Elopement
     Maori Love-Poems
     The Wooing-House
     Liberty of Choice and Respect for Women
     Maori Morals and Capacity for Love


     The Red Lover
     The Foam Woman
     The Humpback Magician
     The Buffalo King
     The Haunted Grove
     The Girl and the Scalp
     A Chippewa Love-Song
     How "Indian Stories" are Written
     Reality versus Romance
     Deceptive Modesty
     Were Indians Corrupted by Whites?
     The Noble Red Man
     Apparent Exceptions
     Intimidating California Squaws
     Going A-Calumeting
     Squaws and Personal Beauty
     Are North American Indians Gallant?
     South American Gallantry
     How Indians Adore Squaws
     Choosing a Husband
     Compulsory "Free Choice"
     A British Columbia Story
     The Danger of Coquetry
     The Girl Market
     Other Ways of Thwarting Free Choice
     Central and South American Examples
     Why Indians Elope
     Suicide and Love
     Curiosities of Courtship
     Pantomimic Love-Making
     Music in Indian Courtship
     Indian Love-Poems
     More Love-Stories
     "White Man Too Much Lie"
     The Story of Pocahontas
     Verdict: No Romantic Love
     The Unloving Eskimo.


     "Whole Tracts of Feeling Unknown to Them"
     Practical Promiscuity
     "Marvellously Pretty and Romantic"
     Liberty of Choice
     Scalps and Field-Mice
     A Topsy-Turvy Custom
     Pahária Lads and Lasses
     Child-Murder and Child-Marriage
     Monstrous Parental Selfishness
     How Hindoo Girls are Disposed of
     Hindoos Far Below Brutes
     Contempt in Place of Love
     Widows and Their Tormentors
     Hindoo Depravity
     Temple Girls
     An Indian Aspasia
     Symptoms of Feminine Love
     Symptoms of Masculine Love
     Lyrics and Dramas
     I. The Story of Sakuntala
     II. The Story of Urvasi
     III. Malavika and Agnimitra
     IV. The Story of Savitri
     V. Nala and Damayanti
     Artificial Symptoms
     The Hindoo God of Love
     Dying for Love
     What Hindoo Poets Admire in Women
     The Old Story of Selfishness
     Bayadères and Princesses as Heroines
     Voluntary Unions not Respectable


     The Story of Jacob and Rachel
     The Courting of Rebekah
     How Ruth Courted Boaz
     No Sympathy or Sentiment
     A Masculine Ideal of Womanhood
     Not the Christian Ideal of Love
     Unchivalrous Slaughter of Women
     Four More Bible Stories
     Abishag the Shunammite
     The Song of Songs


     Champions of Greek Love
     Gladstone on the Women of Homer
     Achilles as a Lover
     Odysseus, Libertine and Ruffian
     Was Penelope a Model Wife?
     Hector and Andromache
     Barbarous Treatment of Greek Women
     Love in Sappho's Poems
     Masculine Minds in Female Bodies
     Anacreon and Others
     Woman and Love in Aeschylus
     Woman and Love in Sophocles
     Woman and Love in Euripides
     Romantic Love, Greek Style
     Platonic Love of Women
     Spartan Opportunities for Love
     Amazonian Ideal of Greek Womanhood
     Athenian Orientalism
     Literature and Life
     Greek Love in Africa
     Alexandrian Chivalry
     The New Comedy
     Theocritus and Callimachus
     Medea and Jason
     Poets and Hetairai
     Short Stories
     Greek Romances
     Daphnis and Chloe
     Hero and Leander
     Cupid and Psyche








"Love is always the same. As Sappho loved, fifty years ago, so did
people love ages before her; so will they love thousands of years

These words, placed by Professor Ebers in the mouth of one of the
characters in his historic novel, _An Egyptian Princess_, express the
prevalent opinion on this subject, an opinion which I, too, shared
fifteen years ago. Though an ardent champion of the theory of
evolution, I believed that there was one thing in the world to which
modern scientific ideas of gradual development did not apply--that
love was too much part and parcel of human nature to have ever been
different from what it is to-day.


It so happened that I began to collect notes for a paper on "How to
Cure Love." It was at first intended merely as a personal experiment
in emotional psychology. Afterward it occurred to me that such a
sketch might be shaped into a readable magazine article. This, again,
suggested a complementary article on "How to Win Love"--a sort of
modern Ovid in prose; and then suddenly came the thought,

     "Why not write a book on love? There is none in the English
     language--strange anomaly--though love is supposed to be the
     most fascinating and influential thing in the world. It will
     surely be received with delight, especially if I associate
     with it some chapters on personal beauty, the chief inspirer
     of love. I shall begin by showing that the ancient Greeks
     and Romans and Hebrews loved precisely as we love."

Forthwith I took down from my shelves the classical authors that I had
not touched since leaving college, and eagerly searched for all
references to women, marriage, and love. To my growing surprise and
amazement I found that not only did those ancient authors look upon
women as inferior beings while I worshipped them, but in their
descriptions of the symptoms of love I looked in vain for mention of
those supersensual emotions and self-sacrificing impulses which
overcame me when I was in love. "Can it be," I whispered to myself,
"that, notwithstanding the universal opinion to the contrary, love is,
after all, subject to the laws of development?"

This hypothesis threw me into a fever of excitement, without the
stimulus of which I do not believe I should have had the courage and
patience to collect, classify, and weave into one fabric the enormous
number of facts and opinions contained within the covers of _Romantic
Love and Personal Beauty_. I believed that at last something new under
the sun had been found, and I was so much afraid that the discovery
might leak out prematurely, that for two years I kept the first half
of my title a secret, telling inquisitive friends merely that I was
writing a book on Personal Beauty. And no one but an author who is in
love with his theme and whose theme is love can quite realize what a
supreme delight it was--with occasional moments of anxious
suspense--to go through thousands of books in the libraries of
America, England, France, and Germany and find that all discoverable
facts, properly interpreted, bore out my seemingly paradoxical and
reckless theory.


When the book appeared some of the critics accepted my conclusions,
but a larger number pooh-poohed them. Here are a few specimen

     "His great theses are, first, that romantic love is an
     entirely modern invention; and, secondly, that romantic
     love and conjugal love are two things essentially
     different.... Now both these theses are luckily false."

"He is wrong when he says there was no such thing as pre-matrimonial
love known to the ancients."

"I don't believe in his theory at all, and ... no one is likely to
believe in it after candid examination."

"A ridiculous theory."

"It was a misfortune when Mr. Finck ran afoul of this theory."

"Mr. Finck will not need to live many years in order to be ashamed of

"His thesis is not worth writing about."

"It is true that he has uttered a profoundly original thought, but,
unfortunately, the depth of its originality is surpassed by its
fathomless stupidity."

"If in the light of these and a million other facts, we should
undertake to explain why nobody had anticipated Mr. Finck's theory
that love is a modern sentiment, we should say it might be because
nobody who felt inspired to write about it was ever so extensively
unacquainted with the literature of the human passions."

"Romantic love has always existed, in every clime and age, since man
left simian society; and the records of travellers show that it is to
be found even among the lowest savages."


While not a few of the commentators thus rejected or ridiculed my
thesis, others hinted that I had been anticipated. Several suggested
that Burton's _Anatomy of Melancholy_ had been my model. As a matter
of fact, although one of the critics referred to my book as "a marvel
of epitomized research," I must confess, to my shame, that I was not
aware that Burton had devoted two hundred pages to what he calls
Love-Melancholy, until I had finished the first sketch of my
manuscript and commenced to rewrite it. My experience thus furnished a
striking verification of the witty epitaph which Burton wrote for
himself and his book: "Known to few, unknown to fewer still." However,
after reading Burton, I was surprised that any reader of Burton should
have found anything in common between his book and mine, for he
treated love as an appetite, I as a sentiment; my subject was pure,
supersensual affection, while his subject is frankly indicated in the
following sentences:

     "I come at last to that heroical love, which is proper
     to men and women ... and deserves much rather to be
     called burning lust than by such an honorable title."
     "This burning lust ... begets rapes, incests, murders."
     "It rages with all sorts and conditions of men, yet is
     most evident among such as are young and lusty, in the
     flower of their years, nobly descended, high fed, such
     as live idly, at ease, and for that cause (which our
     divines call burning lust) this mad and beastly passion
     ... is named by our physicians heroical love, and a
     more honorable title put upon it, _Amor nobilis_, as
     Savonarola styles it, because noble men and women make
     a common practice of it, and are so ordinarily affected
     with it." "Carolus à Lorme ... makes a doubt whether
     this heroical love be a disease.... Tully ... defines
     it a furious disease of the mind; Plato madness

     "Gordonius calls this disease the proper passion of

     "This heroical passion or rather brutish burning lust
     of which we treat."

The only honorable love Burton knows is that between husband and wife,
while of such a thing as the evolution of love he had, of course, not
the remotest conception, as his book appeared in 1621, or two hundred
and thirty-eight years before Darwin's _Origin of Species_.


In a review of my book which appeared in the now defunct New York
_Star_, the late George Parsons Lathrop wrote that the author

     "says that romantic love is a modern sentiment, less than a
     thousand years old. This idea, I rather think, he derived
     from Hegel, although he does not credit that philosopher
     with it."

I read this criticism with mingled emotions. If it was true that Hegel
had anticipated me, my claims to priority of discovery would vanish,
even though the idea had come to me spontaneously; but, on the other
hand, the disappointment at this thought was neutralized by the
reflection that I should gain the support of one of the most famous
philosophers, and share with him the sneers and the ridicule bestowed
upon my theory. I wrote to Mr. Lathrop, begging him to refer me to the
volume and page of Hegel's numerous works where I could find the
passage in question. He promptly replied that I should find it in the
second volume of the _Aesthetik_ (178-182). No doubt I ought to have
known that Hegel had written on this subject; but the fact that of
more than two hundred American, English, and German reviewers of my
book whose notices I have seen, only one knew what had thus escaped my
research, consoled me somewhat. Hegel, indeed, might well have copied
Burton's epitaph. His _Aesthetik_ is an abstruse, unindexed,
three-volume work of 1,575 pages, which has not been reprinted since
1843, and is practically forgotten. Few know it, though all know of

After perusing Hegel's pages on this topic I found, however, that Mr.
Lathrop had imputed to him a theory--my theory--which that philosopher
would have doubtless repudiated emphatically. What Hegel does is
simply to call attention to the fact that in the literature of the
ancient Greeks and Romans love is depicted only as a transient
gratification of the senses, or a consuming heat of the blood, and not
as a romantic, sentimental affection of the soul. He does not
generalize, says nothing about other ancient nations,[1] and certainly
never dreamt of such a thing as asserting that love had been gradually
and slowly developed from the coarse and selfish passions of our
savage ancestors to the refined and altruistic feelings of modern
civilized men and women. He lived long before the days of scientific
anthropology and Darwinism, and never thought of such a thing as
looking upon the emotions and morals of primitive men as the raw
material out of which our own superior minds have been fashioned. Nay,
Hegel does not even say that sentimental love did not exist in the
life of the Greeks and Romans; he simply asserts that it is not to be
found in their literature. The two things are by no means identical.

Professor Rohde, an authority on the erotic writings of the Greeks,
expresses the opinion repeatedly that, whatever their literature may
indicate, they themselves were capable of feeling strong and pure
love; and the eminent American psychologist, Professor William James,
put forth the same opinion in a review of my book.[2] Indeed, this
view was broached more than a hundred years ago by a German author,
Basil von Ramdohr, who wrote four volumes on love and its history,
entitled _Venus Urania_. His first two volumes are almost unreadably
garrulous and dull, but the third and fourth contain an interesting
account of various phases through which love has passed in literature.
Yet he declares (Preface, vol. iii.) that "the nature [_Wesen_] of
love is unchangeable, but the ideas we entertain in regard to it and
the effects we ascribe to it, are subject to alteration."


It is possible that Hegel may have read this book, for it appeared in
1798, while the first manuscript sketches of his lectures on esthetics
bear the date of 1818. He may have also read Robert Wood's book
entitled _An Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer_,
dated 1775, in which this sentence occurs:

     "Is it not very remarkable, that Homer, so great a master of
     the tender and pathetic, who has exhibited human nature in
     almost every shape, and under every view, has not given a
     single instance of the powers and effects of love, distinct
     from sensual enjoyment, in the _Iliad_?"

This is as far as I have been able to trace back this notion in modern
literature. But in the literature of the first half of the nineteenth
century I have come across several adumbrations of the truth regarding
the Greeks,[3] by Shelley, Lord Lytton, Lord Macaulay, and Théophile
Gautier. Shelley's ideas are confused and contradictory, but
interesting as showing the conflict between traditional opinion and
poetic intuition. In his fragmentary discourse on "The Manners of the
Ancients Relating to the Subject of Love," which was intended to serve
as an introduction to Plato's _Symposium_, he remarks that the women
of the ancient Greeks, with rare exceptions, possessed

     "the habits and the qualities of slaves. They were probably
     not extremely beautiful, at least there was no such
     disproportion in the attractions of the external form
     between the female and male sex among the Greeks, as exists
     among the modern Europeans. They were certainly devoid of
     that moral and intellectual loveliness with which the
     acquisition of knowledge and the cultivation of sentiment
     animates, as with another life of overpowering grace, the
     lineaments and the gestures of every form which they
     inhabit. Their eyes could not have been deep and intricate
     from the workings of the mind, and could have entangled no
     heart in soul-enwoven labyrinths." Having painted this
     life-like picture of the Greek female mind, Shelley goes on
     to say perversely:

     "Let it not be imagined that because the Greeks were
     deprived of its legitimate object, that they were
     incapable of sentimental love, and that this passion is
     the mere child of chivalry and the literature of modern

He tries to justify this assertion by adding that

     "Man is in his wildest state a social being: a certain
     degree of civilization and refinement ever produces the want
     of sympathies still more intimate and complete; and the
     gratification of the senses is no longer all that is sought
     in sexual connection. It soon becomes a very small part of
     that profound and complicated sentiment, which we call love,
     which is rather the universal thirst for a communion not
     merely of the senses, but of our whole nature, intellectual,
     imaginative, and sensitive."

Here Shelley contradicts himself flatly by saying, in two consecutive
sentences, that Greek women were "certainly devoid of the moral and
intellectual loveliness" which inspires sentimental love, but that the
men nevertheless could feel such love. His mind was evidently hazy on
the subject, and that is probably the reason why his essay remained a


Macaulay, with deeper insight than Shelley showed, realized that the
passion of love may undergo changes. In his essay on Petrarch he notes
that in the days of that poet love had become a new passion, and he
clearly realizes the obstacles to love presented by Greek
institutions. Of the two classes of women in Greece, the respectable
and the hetairai, he says:

     "The matrons and their daughters, confined in the
     harem--insipid, uneducated, ignorant of all but the
     mechanical arts, scarcely seen till they were married--could
     rarely excite interest; while their brilliant rivals, half
     graces, half harpies, elegant and refined, but fickle and
     rapacious, could never inspire respect."

Lord Lytton wrote an essay on "The Influence of Love upon Literature
and Real Life," in which he stated that

     "with Euripides commences the important distinction in the
     analysis of which all the most refined and intellectual of
     modern erotic literature consists, viz., the distinction
     between love as a passion and love as a sentiment.... He is
     the first of the Hellenic poets who interests us
     _intellectually_ in the antagonism and affinity between the

Théophile Gautier clearly realized one of the differences between
ancient passion and modern love. In _Mademoiselle de Maupin,_ he makes
this comment on the ancient love-poems:

     "Through all the subtleties and veiled expressions one
     hears the abrupt and harsh voice of the master who
     endeavors to soften his manner in speaking to a slave.
     It is not, as in the love-poems written since the
     Christian era, a soul demanding love of another soul
     because it loves.... 'Make haste, Cynthia; the smallest
     wrinkle may prove the grave of the most violent
     passion.' It is in this brutal formula that all ancient
     elegy is summed up."


In _Romantic Love and Personal Beauty_ I intimated (116) that Oliver
Goldsmith was the first author who had a suspicion of the fact that
love is not the same everywhere and at all times. My surmise was
apparently correct; it is not refuted by any of the references to love
by the several authors just quoted, since all of these were written
from about a half a century to a century later than Goldsmith's
_Citizen of the World_ (published in 1764), which contains his
dialogue on "Whether Love be a Natural or a Fictitious Passion." His
assertion therein that love existed only in early Rome, in chivalrous
mediaeval Europe, and in China, all the rest of the world being, and
having ever been, "utter strangers to its delights and advantages,"
is, of course a mere bubble of his poetic fancy, not intended to be
taken too seriously, and, is, moreover, at variance with facts. It is
odd that he overlooks the Greeks, whereas the other writers cited
confine themselves to the Greeks and their Roman imitators.

Ten years before Goldsmith thus launched the idea that most nations
were and had ever been strangers to the delights and advantages of
love, Jean Jacques Rousseau published a treatise, _Discours sur
l'inégalité_ (1754), in which he asserted that savages are strangers
to jealousy, know no domesticity, and evince no preferences, being as
well pleased with one woman as with another. Although, as we shall see
later, many savages do have a crude sort of jealousy, domesticity, and
individual preference, Rousseau, nevertheless, hints prophetically at
a great truth--the fact that some, at any rate, of the phenomena of
love are not to be found in the life of savages. Such a thought,
naturally, was too novel to be accepted at once. Ramdohr, for
instance, declares (III. 17) that he cannot convince himself that
Rousseau is right. Yet, on the preceding page he himself had written
that "it is unreasonable to speak of love between the sexes among
peoples that have not yet advanced so far as to grant women humane


All these things are of extreme interest as showing the blind
struggles of a great idea to emerge from the mist into daylight. The
greatest obstacle to the recognition of the fact that love has a
history, and is subject to the laws of evolution lay in the habit of
looking upon it as a simple feeling.

When I wrote my first book on love, I believed that Herbert Spencer
was the first thinker who grasped the idea that love is a composite
state of mind. I now see, however, that Silvius, in Shakspere's _As
You Like It_ (V. 2), gave a broad hint of the truth, three hundred
years ago. Phoebe asks him to "tell what 't is to love," and he

     It is to be all made of sighs and tears....
     It is to be all made of faith and service....
     It is to be all made of fantasy,
     All made of passion, and all made of wishes,
     All adoration, duty, and observance,
     All humbleness, all patience, and impatience,
     All purity, all trial, all obedience.

Coleridge also vaguely recognized the composite nature of love in the
first stanza of his famous poem:

     All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
     Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
     All are but ministers of love,
       And feed his sacred flame.

And Swift adds, in "Cadenus and Vanessa:"

     Love, why do we one passion call,
     When 'tis a compound of them all?

The eminent Danish critic, George Brandes, though a special student of
English literature, overlooked these poets when he declared, in one of
his lectures on literary history (1872), that the book in which love
is for the first time looked on as something composite and an attempt
made to analyze it into its elements, is Benjamin Constant's _Adolphe_
(which appeared in 1816). "In _Adolphe_," he says,

     "and in all the literature associated with that book, we are
     informed accurately how many parts, how many grains, of
     friendship, devotion, vanity, ambition, admiration, respect,
     sensual attraction, illusion, fancy, deception, hate,
     satiety, enthusiasm, reasoning calculation, etc., are
     contained in the _mixtum compositum_ which the enamoured
     persons call love."

This list, moreover, does not accurately name a single one of
the essential ingredients of true love, dwelling only on associated
phenomena, whereas Shakspere's lines call attention to three states of
mind which form part of the quintessence of romantic love--gallant
"service," "adoration," and "purity"--while "patience and impatience"
may perhaps be accepted as an equivalent of what I call the mixed
moods of hope and despair.


Nevertheless the first thinker who treated love as a compound feeling
and consciously attempted a philosophical analysis of it was Herbert
Spencer. In 1855 he published his _Principles of Psychology_, and in
1870 appeared a greatly enlarged edition, paragraph 215 of which
contains the following exposition of his views:

     "The passion which unites the sexes is habitually
     spoken of as though it were a simple feeling; whereas
     it is the most compound, and therefore the most
     powerful, of all the feelings. Added to the purely
     physical elements of it are first to be noticed those
     highly complex impressions produced by personal beauty;
     around which are aggregated a variety of pleasurable
     ideas, not in themselves amatory, but which have an
     organized relation to the amatory feeling. With this
     there is united the complex sentiment which we term
     affection--a sentiment which, as it exists between
     those of the same sex, must be regarded as an
     independent sentiment, but one which is here greatly
     exalted. Then there is the sentiment of admiration,
     respect, or reverence--in itself one of considerable
     power, and which in this relation becomes in a high
     degree active. There comes next the feeling called love
     of approbation. To be preferred above all the world,
     and that by one admired beyond all others, is to have
     the love of approbation gratified in a degree passing
     every previous experience: especially as there is added
     that indirect gratification of it which results from
     the preference being witnessed by unconcerned persons.
     Further, the allied emotion of self-esteem comes into
     play. To have succeeded in gaining such attachment
     from, and sway over, another, is a proof of power which
     cannot fail agreeably to excite the _amour propre_. Yet
     again the proprietary feeling has its share in the
     general activity: there is the pleasure of
     possession--the two belong to each other. Once more,
     the relation allows of an extended liberty of action.
     Toward other persons a restrained behavior is
     requisite. Round each there is a subtle boundary that
     may not be crossed--an individuality on which none may
     trespass. But in this case the barriers are thrown
     down; and thus the love of unrestrained activity is
     gratified. Finally, there is an exaltation of the
     sympathies. Egoistic pleasures of all kinds are doubled
     by another's sympathetic participation; and the
     pleasures of another are added to the egoistic
     pleasures. Thus, round the physical feeling forming the
     nucleus of the whole, are gathered the feelings
     produced by personal beauty, that constituting simple
     attachment, those of reverence, of love of approbation,
     of self-esteem, of property, of love of freedom, of
     sympathy. These, all greatly exalted, and severally
     tending to reflect their excitements on one another,
     unite to form the mental state we call love. And as
     each of them is itself comprehensive of multitudinous
     states of consciousness, we may say that this passion
     fuses into one immense aggregate most of the elementary
     excitations of which we are capable; and that hence
     results its irresistible power."

Ribot has copied this analysis of love in his _Psychologie des
Sentiments_ (p. 249), with the comment that it is the best known to
him (1896) and that he sees nothing to add or to take away from it.
Inasmuch as it forms merely an episodic illustration in course of a
general argument, it certainly bears witness to the keenness of
Spencer's intellect. Yet I cannot agree with Ribot that it is a
complete analysis of love. It aided me in conceiving the plan for my
first book, but I soon found that it covered only a small part of the
ground. Of the ingredients as suggested by him I accepted only
two--Sympathy, and the feelings associated with Personal Beauty. What
he called love of approbation, self-esteem, and pleasure of possession
I subsummed under the name of Pride of Conquest and Possession.
Further reflection has convinced me that it would have been wiser if,
instead of treating Romantic Love as a phase of affection (which, of
course, was in itself quite correct), I had followed Spencer's example
and made affection one of the ingredients of the amorous passion. In
the present volume I have made the change and added also Adoration,
which includes what Spencer calls "the sentiment of admiration,
respect, or reverence," while calling attention to the superlative
phase of these sentiments which is so characteristic of the lover, who
does not say, "I respect you," but "I adore you." I may therefore
credit Spencer with having suggested three or four only of the
fourteen essential ingredients which I find in love.


The most important distinction between Spencer's analysis of love and
mine is that he treats it merely as a composite feeling, or a group of
emotions, whereas I treat it as a complex state of mind including not
only diverse feelings or sentiments--sympathy, admiration of beauty,
jealousy, affection--but the _active, altruistic impulses_ of
gallantry and self-sacrifice, which are really more essential to an
understanding of the essence of love, and a better test of it, than
the sentiments named by Spencer. He ignores also the absolutely
essential traits of individual preference and monopolism, besides
coyness, hyperbole, the mixed moods of hope and despair, and purity,
with the diverse emotions accompanying them. An effort to trace the
evolution of the ingredients of love was first made in my book, though
in a fragmentary way, in which respect the present volume will be
found a great improvement. Apart from the completion of the analysis
of love, my most important contribution to the study of this subject
lies in the recognition of the fact that, "love" being so vague and
comprehensive a term, the only satisfactory way of studying its
evolution is to trace the evolution of each of its ingredients
separately, as I do in the present volume in the long chapter entitled
"What Is Romantic Love?"

In _Romantic Love and Personal Beauty_ (180) I wrote that perhaps the
main reason why no one had anticipated me in the theory that love is
an exclusively modern sentiment was that no distinction had commonly
been made between romantic love and conjugal affection, noble examples
of the latter being recorded in countries where romantic love was not
possible owing to the absence of opportunities for courtship. I still
hold that conjugal love antedated the romantic variety, but further
study has convinced me that (as will be shown in the chapters on
Conjugal Love and on India, and Greece) much of what has been taken as
evidence of wifely devotion is really only a proof of man's tyrannic
selfishness which compelled the woman always to subordinate herself to
her cruel master. The idea on which I placed so much emphasis, that
opportunity for prolonged courtship is essential to the growth of
romantic love, was some years later set forth by Dr. Drummond in his
_Ascent of Man_ where he comments eloquently on the fact that
"affection needs time to grow."


The keynote of my first book lies of course in the distinction between
sensual love and romantic love. This distinction seemed to me so
self-evident that I did not dwell on it at length, but applied myself
chiefly to the task of proving that savages and ancient nations knew
only one kind, being strangers to romantic or pure love. When I wrote
(76) "No one, of course, would deny that sensual passion prevailed in
Athens; but sensuality is the very antipode of love," I never dreamed
that anyone would object to this distinction in itself. Great,
therefore, was my amazement when, on reading the London _Saturday
Review's_ comments on my book, I came across the following:

     "and when we find Mr. Finck marking off Romantic Love not
     merely from Conjugal Love, but from what he is pleased to
     call 'sensuality,' we begin to suspect that he really does
     not know what he is talking about."

This criticism, with several others similar to it, was of great use to
me, as it led to a series of studies, which convinced me that even at
the present day the nature of romantic love is not understood by the
vast majority of Europeans and Americans, many of them very estimable
and intelligent individuals.


Another London paper, the _Academy_, took me to task for using the
word "romantic" in the sense I applied to it. But in this case, too,
further research has shown that I was justified in using that word to
designate pure prematrimonial love. There is a passage in Steele's
_Lover_ (dated 1714) which proves that it must have been in common use
in a similar sense two centuries ago. The passage refers to "the reign
of the amorous Charles the Second," and declares that

     "the licenses of that court did not only make the Love which
     the Vulgar call Romantick, the object of Jest and Ridicule,
     but even common Decency and Modesty were almost abandoned as
     formal and unnatural."

Here there is an obvious antithesis between romantic and sensual. The
same antithesis was used by Hegel in contrasting the sensual love of
the ancient Greeks and Romans with what he calls modern "romantic"
love. Waitz-Gerland, too, in the six volumes of their _Anthropologie
der Naturvölker_, repeatedly refer to (alleged) cases of "romantic
love" among savages and barbarians, having in all probability adopted
the term from Hegel. The peculiar appropriateness of the word romantic
to designate imaginative love will be set forth later in the chapter
entitled Sensuality, Sentimentality, and Sentiment. Here I will only
add an important truth which I shall have occasion to repeat
often--that _a romantic love-story is not necessarily a story of
romantic love_; for it is obvious, for instance, that an elopement
prompted by the most frivolous sensual passion, without a trace of
real love, may lead to the most romantic incidents.

In the chapters on affection, gallantry, and self-sacrifice, I shall
make it clear even to a Saturday Reviewer that the gross sensual
infatuation which leads a man to shoot a girl who refuses him, or a
tramp to assault a woman on a lonely road and afterward to cut her
throat in order to hide his crime, is absolutely antipodal to the
refined, ardent, affectionate Romantic Love which impels a man to
sacrifice his own life rather than let any harm or dishonor come to
the beloved.


Dr. Albert Moll of Berlin, in his second treatise on sexual
anomalies,[4] takes occasion to express his disbelief in my view that
love before marriage is a sentiment peculiar to modern man. He
declares that traits of such love occur even in the courtship of
animals, particularly birds, and implies that this upsets my theory.
On the same ground a reviewer in a New York evening paper accused me
of being illogical. Such criticisms illustrate the vague ideas
regarding evolution that are still current. It is assumed that all the
faculties are developed step by step simultaneously as we proceed from
lower to higher animals, which is as illogical as it would be to
assume that since birds have such beautiful and convenient things as
wings, and dogs belong to a higher genus of animals, therefore dogs
ought to have better wings than birds. Most animals are cleaner than
savages; why should not some of them be more romantic in their
love-affairs? I shall take occasion repeatedly to emphasize this point
in the present volume, though I alluded to it already in my first book
(55) in the following passage, which my critics evidently overlooked:

     "In passing from animals to human beings we find at
     first not only no advance in the sexual relations, but
     a decided retrogression. Among some species of birds,
     courtship and marriage are infinitely more refined and
     noble than among the lowest savages, and it is
     especially in their treatment of females, both before
     and after mating, that not only birds but all animals
     show an immense superiority over primitive man; for
     male animals fight only among themselves and never
     maltreat the females."


Notwithstanding this striking and important fact, there is a large
number of sentimental writers who make the extraordinary claim that
the lower races, however savage they may be in everything else, are
like ourselves in their amorous relations; that they love and admire
personal beauty just as we do. The main object of the present volume
is to demolish this doctrine; to prove that sexual refinement and the
sense of personal beauty are not the earliest but the latest products
of civilization. I have shown elsewhere[5] that Japanese civilization
is in many important respects far superior to ours; yet in their
treatment of women and estimate of love, this race has not yet risen
above the barbarous stage; and it will be shown in this volume that if
we were to judge the ancient Greeks and the Hindoos from this point of
view, we should have to deny them the epithet of civilized. Morgan
found that the most advanced of American Indians, the Iroquois, had no
capacity for love. His testimony in detail will be found in its proper
place in this volume, together with that of competent observers
regarding other tribes and races. Some of this evidence was known to
the founders of the modern science of sociology. It led Spencer to
write _en passant_ (_Pr. Soc_., I., § 337, §339) that "absence of the
tender emotion ... habitually characterizes men of low types;" and
that the "higher sentiments accompanying union of the sexes ... do not
exist among primitive men." It led Sir John Lubbock to write (50)
regarding the lowest races that "love is almost unknown among them;
and marriage, in its lowest phases, is by no means a matter of
affection and companionship."


These are casual adumbrations of a great truth that applies not only
to the lowest races (savages) but to the more advanced barbarians as
well as to ancient civilized nations, as the present volume will
attempt to demonstrate. To make my argument more impressive and
conclusive, I present it in a twofold form. First I take the fourteen
ingredients of love separately, showing how they developed gradually,
whence it follows necessarily that love as a whole developed
gradually. Then I take the Africans, Australians, American Indians,
etc., separately, describing their diverse amorous customs and
pointing out everywhere the absence of the altruistic, supersensual
traits which constitute the essence of romantic love as distinguished
from sensual passion. All this will be preceded by a chapter on "How
Sentiments Change and Grow," which will weaken the bias against the
notion that so elemental a feeling as sexual love should have
undergone so great a change, by pointing out that other seemingly
instinctive and unalterable feelings have changed and developed.


The inclusion of the civilized Greeks in a treatise on Primitive Love
will naturally cause surprise; but I cannot attribute a capacity for
anything more than primitive sensual love to a nation which, in its
prematrimonial customs, manifested none of the essential _altruistic_
traits of Romantic Love--sympathy, gallantry, self-sacrifice,
affection, adoration, and purity. As a matter of course, the
sensualism of a Greek or Roman is a much less coarse thing than an
Australian's, which does not even include kisses or other caresses.
While Greek love is not a sentiment, it may be sentimental, that is,
an _affectation of sentiment_, differing from real sentiment as
adulation does from adoration, as gallantry or the risking of life to
secure favors do from genuine gallantry of the heart and
self-sacrifice for the benefit of another. This important point which
I here superadd to my theory, was overlooked by Benecke when he
attributed a capacity for real love to the later Greeks of the
Alexandrian period.


One of the most important theses advanced in _Romantic Love and
Personal Beauty_ (323, 424, etc.), was that love, far from being
merely a passing episode in human life, is one of the most powerful
agencies working for the improvement of the human race. During the
reign of Natural Selection, before the birth of love, cripples, the
insane, the incurably diseased, were cruelly neglected and allowed to
perish. Christianity rose up against this cruelty, building hospitals
and saving the infirm, who were thus enabled to survive, marry, and
hand down their infirmities to future generations. As a mediator
between these two agencies, love comes in; for Cupid, as I have said,
"does not kill those who do not come up to his standard of health and
beauty, but simply ignores and condemns them to a life of
single-blessedness;" which in these days is not such a hardship as it
used to be. This thought will be enlarged in the last chapter of the
present volume, on the "Utility and Future of Love," which will
indicate how the amorous sense is becoming more and more fastidious
and beneficial. In the same chapter attention will be called, for the
first time, to the three great strata in the evolution of parental
love and morality. In the first, represented by savages, parents think
chiefly of their own comfort, and children get the minimum of
attention consistent with their preservation. In the second, which
includes most of the modern Europeans and Americans, parents exercise
care that their children shall make an advantageous marriage--that is
a marriage which shall secure them wealth or comfort; but the
frequency with which girls are married off to old, infirm, or unworthy
men, shows how few parents as yet have a thought of their
_grandchildren_. In the next stage of moral evolution, which we are
now entering, the grandchildren's welfare also will be considered. In
consequence of the persistent failure to consider the grandchildren,
the human race is now anything but a model of physical, intellectual,
and moral perfection. Luckily love, even in its sensual stages, has
counteracted this parental selfishness and myopia by inducing young
folks to marry for health, youth, and beauty, and creating an aversion
to old age, disease, and deformity. As love becomes more and more
fastidious and more regardful of intellectual worth and moral
beauty--that is becomes Romantic Love--its sway becomes greater and
greater, and the time will come when questions relating to it will
form the most important chapters in treatises on moral philosophy,
which now usually ignore them altogether.


In conversation with friends I have found that the current belief that
love must have been always and everywhere the same, because it is such
a strong and elemental passion, is most easily shaken in this _a
priori_ position by pointing out that there are other strong feelings
in our minds which were lacking among earlier and lower races. The
love of grand, wild scenery, for instance--what we call romantic
scenery--is as modern as the romantic love of men and women. Ruskin
tells us that in his youth he derived a pleasure from such scenery
"comparable for intensity only to the joy of a lover in being near a
noble and kind mistress."


Savages, on the other hand, are prevented from appreciating snow
mountains, avalanches, roaring torrents, ocean storms, deep glens,
jungles, and solitudes, not only by their lack of refinement, but by
their fears of wild animals, human enemies, and evil spirits. "In the
Australian bush," writes Tylor (_P.C._, II., 203), "demons whistle in
the branches, and stooping with outstretched arms sneak among the
trunks to seize the wayfarer;" and Powers (88) writes in regard to
California Indians that they listen to night noises with unspeakable

     "It is difficult for us to conceive of the speechless
     terrors which these poor wretches suffer from the screeching
     of owls, the shrieking of night-hawks, the rustling of the
     trees ... all of which are only channels of poison wherewith
     the demons would smite them."

To the primitive mind, the world over, a high mountain is the horror
of horrors, the abode of evil spirits, and an attempt to climb it
certain death. So strong is this superstition that explorers have
often experienced the greatest difficulty in getting natives to serve
as porters of provisions in their ascents of peaks.[6] Even the Greeks
and Romans cared for landscape only in so far as it was humanized
(parks and gardens) and habitable. "Their souls," says Rohde (511),

     "could never have been touched by the sublime thrills we
     feel in the presence of the dark surges of the sea, the
     gloom of a primeval forest, the solitude and silence of
     sunlit mountain summits."

And Humboldt, who first noted the absence in Greek and Roman writings
of the admiration of romantic scenery, remarked (24):

     "Of the eternal snow of the Alps, glowing in the rosy
     light of the morning or evening sun, of the loveliness
     of the blue glacier ice, of the stupendous grandeur of
     Swiss landscape, no description has come down to us
     from them; yet there was a constant procession over
     these Alps, from Helvetia to Gallia, of statesmen and
     generals with literary men in their train. All these
     travellers tell us only of the steep and abominable
     roads; the romantic aspect of scenery never engages
     their attention. It is even known that Julius Caesar,
     when he returned to his legions in Gaul, employed his
     time while crossing the Alps in writing his grammatical
     treatise 'De Analogia.'"

A sceptical reader might retort that the love of romantic scenery is
so subtle a sentiment, and so far from being universal even now, that
it would be rash to argue from its absence among savages, Greeks, and
Romans, that love, a sentiment so much stronger and more prevalent,
could have been in the same predicament. Let us therefore take another
sentiment, the religious, the vast power and wide prevalence of which
no one will deny.


To a modern Christian, God is a deity who is all-wise, all-powerful,
infinite, holy, the personification of all the highest virtues. To
accuse this Deity of the slightest moral flaw would be blasphemy. Now,
without going so far down as the lowest savages, let us see what
conception such barbarians as the Polynesians have of their gods. The
moral habits of some of them are indicated by their names--"The
Rioter," "The Adulterer," "Ndauthina," who steals women of rank or
beauty by night or by torchlight, "The Human-brain Eater," "The
Murderer." Others of their gods are "proud, envious, covetous,
revengeful, and the subject of every basest passion. They are
demoralized heathen--monster expressions of moral corruption"
(Williams, 184). These gods make war, and kill and eat each other just
as mortals do. The Polynesians believed, too, that "the spirits of the
dead are eaten by the gods or demons" (Ellis, _P.R_., I., 275). It
might be said that since a Polynesian sees no crime in adultery,
revenge, murder, or cannibalism, his attributing such qualities to his
gods cannot, from his point of view, be considered blasphemous. Quite
true; but my point is that men who have made so little progress in
sympathy and moral perception as to see no harm in adultery, revenge,
murder and cannibalism, and in attributing them to their gods, are
altogether too coarse and callous to be able to experience the higher
religious emotions. This inference is borne out by what a most careful
observer (Ellis, _P.R._, I., 291) says:

     "Instead of exercising those affections of gratitude,
     complacency, and love toward the objects of their
     worship which the living God supremely requires, they
     regarded their deities with horrific dread, and
     worshipped only with enslaving fear."

This "enslaving fear" is the principal ingredient of primitive
religious emotion everywhere. To the savage and barbarian, religion is
not a consolation and a blessing, but a terror. Du Chaillu says of the
equatorial Africans (103) that "their whole lives are saddened by the
fears of evil spirits, witchcraft, and other kindred superstitions
under which they labor." Benevolent deities, even if believed in,
receive little or no attention, because, being good, they are supposed
to do no harm anyway, whereas the malevolent gods must be propitiated
by sacrifices. The African Dahomans, for instance, ignore their Mahu
because his intentions are naturally friendly, whereas their Satan,
the wicked Legba, has hundreds of statues before which offerings are
made. "Early religions," as Mr. Andrew Lang tersely puts it, "are
selfish, not disinterested. The worshipper is not contemplative, so
much as eager to gain something to his advantage." If the gods fail to
respond to the offerings made to them, the sacrificers naturally feel
aggrieved, and show their displeasure in a way which to a person who
knows refined religion seems shocking and sacrilegious. In Japan,
China, and Corea, if the gods fail to do what is expected of them,
their images are unceremoniously walloped. In India, if the rains
fail, thousands of priests send up their prayers. If the drought still
continues, they punish their idols by holding them under water. During
a thunderstorm in Africa, Chapman (I., 45) witnessed the following
extraordinary scene:

     "A great number of women, employed in reaping the
     extensive corn-fields through which we passed were
     raising their hoes and voices to heaven, and, yelling
     furiously, cursed 'Morimo' (God), as the terrific
     thunder-claps succeeded each vivid flash of lightning.
     On inquiry I was informed by 'Old Booy' that they were
     indignant at the interruption of their labors, and that
     they therefore cursed and menaced the cause. Such
     blasphemy was awful, even among heathens, and I fully
     expected to see the wrath of God fall upon them."

If any pious reader of such details--which might he multiplied a
thousand-fold--still believes that religious emotion (like love!) is
the same everywhere, let him compare his own devoted feelings during
worship in a Christian church with the emotions which must sway those
who participate in a religious ceremony like that described in the
following passage taken from Rowney's _Wild Tribes of India_ (105). It
refers to the sacrifices made by the Khonds to the God of War, the
victims of which, both male and female, are often bought young and
brought up for this special purpose:

     "For a month prior to the sacrifice there was much
     feasting and intoxication, with dancing round the
     Meriah, or victim ... and on the day before the rite he
     was stupefied with toddy and bound at the bottom of a
     post. The assembled multitude then danced around the
     post to music, singing hymns of invocation to some such
     effect as follows: 'O God, we offer a sacrifice to you!
     Give us good crops in return, good seasons, and
     health.' On the next day the victim was again
     intoxicated, and anointed with oil, which was wiped
     from his body by those present, and put on their heads
     as a blessing. The victim was then carried, in
     procession round the village, preceded by music, and on
     returning to the post a hog was sacrificed to ... the
     village deity ... the blood from the carcass being
     allowed to flow into a pit prepared to receive it. The
     victim, made senseless by intoxication, was now thrown
     into the pit, and his face pressed down till he died
     from suffocation in the blood and mire, a deafening
     noise with instruments being kept up all the time. The
     priest then cut a piece of flesh from the body and
     buried it with ceremony near the village idol, all the
     rest of the people going through the same form after

Still more horrible details of these sacrifices are supplied by Dalton

     "Major Macpherson notes that the Meriah in some
     districts is put to death slowly by fire, the great
     object being to draw from the victim as many tears as
     possible, in the belief that the cruel Tari will
     proportionately increase the supply of rain."

     "Colonel Campbell thus describes the _modus operandi_ in
     Chinna Kimedy: 'The miserable Meriah is dragged along the
     fields, surrounded by a crowd of half-intoxicated Kandhs,
     who, shouting and screaming, rush upon him, and with their
     knives cut the flesh piece-meal from his bones, avoiding the
     head and bowels, till the living skeleton, dying from loss
     of blood, is relieved from torture, when its remains are
     burnt and the ashes mixed with the new grain to preserve it
     from insects.'"

In some respect, the civilized Hindoos are even worse than the wild
tribes of India. Nothing is more sternly condemned and utterly
abhorred by modern religion than licentiousness and obscenity, but a
well-informed and eminently trustworthy missionary, the Abbé Dubois,
declares that sensuality and licentiousness are among the elements of
Hindoo religious life:

     "Whatever their religion sets before them, tends to
     encourage these vices; and, consequently, all their senses,
     passions, and interests are leagued in its favor" (II., 113,

Their religious festivals "are nothing but sports; and on no occasion
of life are modesty and decorum more carefully excluded than during
the celebration of their religious mysteries."

More immoral even than their own religious practices are the doings of
their deities. The _Bhagavata_ is a book which deals with the
adventures of the god Krishna, of whom Dubois says (II., 205):

     "It was his chief pleasure to go every morning to the
     place where the women bathe, and, in concealment, to
     take advantage of their unguarded exposure. Then he
     rushed amongst them, took possession of their clothes,
     and gave a loose to the indecencies of language and of
     gesture. He maintained sixteen wives, who had the title
     of queens, and sixteen thousand concubines.... In
     obscenity there is nothing that can be compared with
     the _Bhagavata_. It is, nevertheless, the delight of
     the Hindu, and the first book they put into the hands
     of their children, when learning to read."

Brahmin temples are little more than brothels, in each of which a
dozen or more young Bayadères are kept for the purpose of increasing
the revenues of the gods and their priests. Religious prostitution and
theological licentiousness prevailed also in Persia, Babylonia, Egypt,
and other ancient civilized countries. Commenting on a series of
obscene pictures found in an Egyptian tomb, Erman says (154): "We are
shocked at the morality of a nation which could supply the deceased
with such literature for the eternal journey." Professor Robertson
Smith says that "in Arabia and elsewhere unrestricted prostitution was
practised at the temples and defended on the analogy of the license
allowed to herself by the unmarried mother goddess." Nor were the
early Greeks much better. Some of their religious festivals were
sensual orgies, some of their gods nearly as licentious as those of
the Hindoos. Their supreme god, Zeus, is an Olympian Don Juan, and the
legend of the birth of Aphrodite, their goddess of love, is in its
original form unutterably obscene.

Before religious emotion could make any approximation to the devout
feelings of a modern Christian, it was necessary to eliminate all
these licentious, cruel, and blasphemous features of worship--the
eating or slaughtering of human victims, the obscene orgies, as well
as the spiteful and revengeful acts toward disobedient gods. The
progress--like the Evolution of Romantic Love--has been from the
sensual and selfish to the supersensual and unselfish. In the highest
religious ideal, love of God takes the place of fear, adoration that
of terror, self-sacrifice that of self-seeking. But we are still very
far from that lofty ideal.

     "The lazzarone of Naples prays to his patron saint to favor
     his choice of a lottery ticket; if it turns out an unlucky
     number he will take the little leaden image of the saint
     from his pocket, revile it, spit on it, and trample it in
     the mud."

"The Swiss clergy opposed the system of insuring growing crops because
it made their parishioners indifferent to prayers for their crops"
(Brinton, _R.S_., 126, 82). These are extreme cases, but Italian
lazzaroni and Swiss peasants are by no means the only church-goers
whose worship is inspired not by love of God but by the expectation of
securing a personal benefit. All those who pray for worldly
prosperity, or do good deeds for the sake of securing a happy
hereafter for their souls, take a selfish, utilitarian view of the
deity, and even their gratitude for favors received is too apt to be
"a lively sense of possible favors to come." Still, there are now not
a few devotees who love God for his own sake; and who pray not for
luxuries but that their souls may be fortified in virtue and their
sympathies widened. But it is not necessary to dwell on this theme any
longer, now that I have shown what I started out to demonstrate, that
religious emotion is very complex and variable, that in its early
stages it is made up of feelings which are not loving, reverential, or
even respectful, but cruel, sacrilegious, criminal, and licentious;
that religion, in a word, has (like love, as I am trying to prove)
passed through coarse, carnal, degrading, selfish, utilitarian stages
before it reached the comparatively refined, spiritual, sympathetic,
and devotional attitude of our time.

Besides the growing complexity of the religious sentiment and its
gradual ennoblement, there are two points I wish to emphasize. One is
that there are among us to-day thousands of intelligent and refined
agnostics who are utter strangers to all religious emotions, just as
there are thousands of men and women who have never known and never
will know the emotions of sentimental love. Why, then, should it seem
so very unlikely that whole nations were strangers to such love (as
they were strangers to the higher religious sentiment), even though
they were as intelligent as the Greeks and Romans? I offer this
consideration not as a conclusive argument, but merely as a means of
overcoming a preconceived bias against my theory.

The other point I wish to make clear is that our emotions change with
our ideas. Obviously it would be absurd to suppose that a man whose
ideas in regard to the nature of his gods do not prevent him from
flogging them angrily in case they refuse his requests are the same as
those of a pious Christian, who, if his prayers are not answered, says
to his revered Creator: "Thy will be done on earth as it is done in
heaven," and humbly prostrates himself. And if emotions in the
religious sphere are thus metamorphosed with ideas, why is it so
unlikely that the sexual passion, too, should "suffer a sea change
into something rich and strange?"

The existence of the wide-spread prejudice against the notion that
love is subject to the laws of development, is owing to the fact that
the comparative psychology of the emotions and sentiments has been
strangely neglected. Anthropology, the Klondike of the comparative
psychologist, reveals things seemingly much more incredible than the
absence of romantic love among barbarians and partly civilized nations
who had not yet discovered the nobler super-sensual fascinations which
women are capable of exerting. The nuggets of truth found in that
science show that every virtue known to man grew up slowly into its
present exalted form. I will illustrate this assertion with reference
to one general feeling, the horror of murder, and then add a few pages
regarding virtues relating to the sexual sphere and directly connected
with the subject of this book.


The committing of wilful murder is looked on with unutterable horror
in modern civilized communities, yet it took eons of time and the
co-operation of many religious, social, and moral agencies before the
idea of the sanctity of human life became what it is now when it might
be taken for an instinct inherent in human nature itself. How far it
is from being such an instinct we shall see by looking at the facts.
Among the lowest races and even some of the higher barbarians, murder,
far from being regarded as a crime, is honored as a virtue and a
source of glory.

An American Indian's chief pride and claim to tribal honor lies in the
number of scalps he has torn from the heads of men he has killed. Of
the Fijian, Williams says (97):

     "Shedding of blood is to him no crime, but a glory. Whoever
     may be the victim--whether noble or vulgar, old or young,
     man, woman, or child--whether slain in war or butchered by
     treachery, to be somehow an acknowledged murderer, is the
     object of a Fijian's restless ambition."

The Australian feels the same irresistible impulse to kill every
stranger he comes across as many of our comparatively civilized
gentlemen feel toward every bird or wild animal they see. Lumholtz,
while he lived among these savages, took good care to follow the
advice "never have a black fellow behind you;" and he relates a story
of a squatter who was walking in the bush with his black boy hunting
brush monkeys, when the boy touched him on the shoulder from behind
and said, "Let me go ahead." When the squatter asked why he wished to
go before him, the native answered, "Because I feel such an
inclination to kill you."

Dalton (266) says of the Oraons in India: "It is doubtful if they see
any moral guilt in murder." But the most astounding race of
professional murderers are the Dyaks of Borneo. "Among them," says
Earl, "the more heads a man has cut off, the more he is respected."
"The white man reads," said a Dyak to St. John: "_we_ hunt heads
instead." "Our Dyaks," says Charles Brooke, "were eternally requesting
to be allowed to go for heads, and their urgent entreaties often bore
resemblance to children crying after sugar-plums." "An old Dyak,"
writes Dalton, "loves to dwell upon his success on these hunting
excursions, and the terror of the women and children taken affords a
fruitful theme of amusement at their meetings." Dalton speaks of one
expedition from which seven hundred heads were brought home. The young
women were carried off, the old ones killed and all the men's heads
were cut off. Not that the women always escaped. Among the Dusun, as a
rule, says Preyer,

     "the heads were obtained in the most cowardly way possible,
     a woman's or child's being just as good as a man's ... so,
     as easier prey, the cowards seek them by lying in ambush
     near the plantations."

Families are sometimes surprised while asleep and their heads cut off.
Brooke tells of a man who for awhile kept company with a countrywoman,
and then slew her and ran off with her head. "It ought to be called
_head-stealing_ not _head-hunting,"_ says Hatton; and Earl remarks:

     "The possession of a human head cannot be considered as a proof
     of the bravery of the owner for it is not necessary that he
     should have killed the victim with his own hands, his friends
     being permitted to assist him or even to perform the act

It is to be noted that the Dyaks[7] are not in other respects a fierce
and diabolical race, but are at home, as Doty attests, "mild, gentle,
and given to hospitality." I call special attention to this by way of
indirectly answering an objection frequently urged against my theory:
"How is it possible to suppose that a nation so highly civilized as
the Greeks of Plato's time should have known love for women only in
its lower, carnal phases?" Well, we have here a parallel case. The
Dyaks are "mild, gentle, and hospitable," yet their chief delight and
glory is murder! And as one of the main objects of this book is to
dwell on the various obstacles which impeded the growth of romantic
love, it will be interesting to glance for a moment at the causes
which prevented the Dyaks from recognizing the sanctity of life.
Superstition is one of them; they believe that persons killed by them
will be their slaves in the next world. Pride is another. "How many
heads did your father get?" a Dyak will ask; and if the number given
is less than his own, the other will say, "Well, then you have no
occasion to be proud." A man's rank in this world as in the next
depends on the number of his skulls; hence the owner of a large number
may be distinguished by his proud bearing. But the head hunter's
strangest and strongest motive is _the desire to please women_! No
Dyak maiden would condescend to marry a youth who has never killed a
man, and in times when the chances for murder were few and far
between, suitors have been compelled to wait a year or two before they
could bag a skull and lead home their blushing bride. The weird
details of this mode of courtship will be given in the chapter on
Island Love on the Pacific.


In all these cases we are shocked at the utter absence of the
sentiment relating to the sanctity of human life. But our horror at
this fiendish indifference to murder is doubled when we find that the
victims are not strangers but members of the same family. I must defer
to the chapter on Sympathy a brief reference to the savage custom of
slaughtering sick relatives and aged parents; here I will confine
myself to a few words regarding the maternal sentiment. The love of a
mother for her offspring is by many philosophers considered the
earliest and strongest of all sympathetic feelings; a feeling stronger
than death. If we can find a wide-spread failure of this powerful
instinct, we shall have one more reason for not assuming as a matter
of course, that the sentiment of love must have been always present.

In Australian families it has been the universal custom to bring up
only a few children in each family--usually two boys and a girl--the
others being destroyed by their own parents, with no more compunction
than we show in drowning superfluous puppies or kittens. The Kurnai
tribe did not kill new-born infants, but simply left them behind. "The
aboriginal mind does not seem to perceive the horrid idea of leaving
an unfortunate baby to die miserably in a deserted camp" (Fison and
Howitt, 14). The Indians of both North and South America were addicted
to the practice of infanticide. Among the Arabs the custom was so
inveterate that as late as our sixth century, Mohammed felt called
upon, in various parts of the Koran, to discountenance it. In the
words of Professor Robertson Smith (281):

     "Mohammed, when he took Mecca and received the homage of the
     women in the most advanced centre of Arabian civilization,
     still deemed it necessary formally to demand from them a
     promise not to commit child-murder."

Among the wild tribes of India there are some who cling to their
custom of infanticide with the tenacity of fanatics. Dalton (288-90)
relates that with the Kandhs this custom was so wide-spread that in
1842 Major Macpherson reported that in many villages not a single
female child could be found. The British Government rescued a number
of girls and brought them up, giving them an education. Some of these
were afterward given in marriage to respectable Kandh bachelors,

     "and it was expected that they at least would not outrage
     their own feeling as mothers by consenting to the
     destruction of their offspring. Subsequently, however,
     Colonel Campbell ascertained that these ladies had no female
     children, and, on being closely questioned, they admitted
     that at their husbands' bidding they had destroyed them."

In the South Sea Islands "not less than two-thirds of the children
were murdered by their own parents." Ellis (_P.R_., I., 196-202) knew
parents who had, by their own confession, killed four, six, eight,
even ten of their children, and the only reason they gave was that it
was the custom of the country.

     "_No sense of irresolution or horror appeared to exist_ in
     the bosoms of those parents, who deliberately resolved on
     the deed before the child was born." "The murderous parents
     often came to their (the missionaries') houses almost before
     their hands were cleansed from their children's blood, and
     spoke of the deed with worse than brutal insensibility, or
     with vaunting satisfaction at the triumph of their customs
     over the persuasions of their teachers."

They refused to spare babies even when the missionaries offered to
take care of them (II., 23). Neither Ellis, during a residence of
eight years, nor Nott during thirty years' residence on the South Sea
Islands, had known a single mother who was not guilty of this crime of
infanticide. Three native women who happened to be together in a room
one day confessed that between them they had killed twenty-one
infants--nine, seven, and five respectively.

These facts have long been familiar to students of anthropology, but
their true significance has been obscured by the additional
information that many tribes addicted to infanticide, nevertheless
displayed a good deal of "affection" toward those whom they spared. A
closer examination of the testimony reveals, however, that there is no
true affection in these cases, but merely a shallow fondness for the
little ones, chiefly for the sake of the selfish gratification it
affords the parents to watch their gambols and to give vent to
inherited animal instincts. True affection is revealed only in
self-sacrifice; but the disposition to sacrifice themselves for their
children is the one quality most lacking in these child-murderers.
Sentimentalists, with their usual lack of insight and logical sense,
have endeavored to excuse these assassins on the ground that necessity
compelled them to destroy their infants. Their arguments have misled
even so eminent a specialist as Professor E.B. Tylor into declaring
(_Anthropology,_ 427) that "infanticide comes from hardness of life
rather than from hardness of heart." What he means, may be made clear
by reference to the case of the Arabs who, living in a desert country,
were in constant dread of suffering from scarcity of food; wherefore,
as Robertson Smith remarks (281), "to bury a daughter was regarded not
only as a virtuous but as a generous deed, which is intelligible if
the reason was that there would be fewer mouths to fill in the tribe."
This explains the murders in question but does not show them to be
excusable; it explains them as being due to the vicious selfishness
and hard-heartedness of parents who would rather kill their infants
than restrain their sexual appetite when they had all the children
they could provide for.

In most cases the assassins of their own children had not even as much
semblance of an excuse as the Arabs. Turner relates (284) that in the
New Hebrides the women had to do all the work, and as it was supposed
that they could not attend to more than two or three, all the others
were buried alive; in other words the babes were murdered to save
trouble and allow the men to live in indolence. In the instances from
India referred to above, various trivial excuses for female
infanticide were offered: that it would save the expenses connected
with the marriage rites; that it was cheaper to buy girls than to
bring them up, or, better still, to steal them from other tribes; that
male births are increased by the destruction of female infants; and
that it is better to destroy girls in their infancy than to allow them
to grow up and become causes of strife afterward. Among the Fijians,
says Williams (154, 155), there is in infanticide "no admixture of
anything like religious feeling or fear, but _merely whim, expediency,
anger, or indolence_." Sometimes the general idea of woman's
inferiority to man underlies the act. They will say to the pleading
missionary: "Why should she live? Will she wield a club? Will she
poise a spear?"

But it was among the women of Hawaii that the motives of infanticide
reached their climax of frivolity. There mothers killed their children
because they were too lazy to bring them up and cook for them; or
because they wished to preserve their own beauty, or were unwilling to
suffer an interruption in their licentious amours; or because they
liked to roam about unburdened by babes; and sometimes for no other
reason than because they could not make them stop crying. So they
buried them alive though they might be months or even years old
(Ellis, _P.R_., IV., 240).

These revelations show that it is not "hardness of life" but "hardness
of heart"--sensual, selfish indulgence--that smothers the parental
instinct. To say that the conduct of such parents is brutal, would be
a great injustice to brutes. No species of animals, however low in the
scale of life, has ever been known to habitually kill its offspring.
In their treatment of females and young ones, animals are indeed, as a
rule, far superior to savages and barbarians. I emphasize this point
because several of my critics have accused me of a lack of knowledge
and thought and logic because I attributed some of the elements of
romantic love to animals and denied them to primitive human beings.
But there is no inconsistency in this. We shall see later on that
there are other things in which animals are superior not only to
savages but to some civilized peoples as high in the scale as Hindoos.


Turning now from the parental to the conjugal sphere we shall find
further interesting instances showing How Sentiments Change and Grow.
The monogamous sentiment--the feeling that a man and his wife belong
to each other exclusively--is now so strong that a person who commits
bigamy not only perpetrates a crime for which the courts may imprison
him for five years, but becomes a social outcast with whom respectable
people will have nothing more to do. The Mormons endeavored to make
polygamy a feature of their religion, but in 1882 Congress passed a
law suppressing it and punishing offenders. Did this monogamous
sentiment exist "always and everywhere?"

Livingstone relates (_M.S.A._, I., 306-312) that the King of the
Beetjuans (South Africa) was surprised to hear that his visitor had
only one wife:

     "When we explained to him that, by the laws of our country,
     people could not marry until they were of a mature age, and
     then could never have more than one wife, he said it was
     perfectly incomprehensible to him how a whole nation could
     submit voluntarily to such laws."

He himself had five wives and one of these queens

     "remarked very judiciously that such laws as ours would not
     suit the Beetjuans because there were so great a number of
     women and the male population suffered such diminutions from
     the wars."

Sir Samuel Baker (_A.N._, 147) says of the wife of the Chief of

     "She asked many questions, how many wives I had? and was
     astonished to hear that I was contented with one. This
     amused her immensely, and she laughed heartily with her
     daughter at the idea."

In Equatorial Africa, "if a man marries and his wife thinks that he
can afford another spouse, she pesters him to marry again, and calls
him a stingy fellow if he declines to do so" (Reade, 259). Livingstone
(_N.E.Z._, 284) says of the Makalolo women:

     "On hearing that a man in England could marry but one wife,
     several ladies exclaimed that they would not like to live in
     such a country; that they could not imagine how English
     ladies could relish such a custom, for, in their way of
     thinking, every man of respectability should have a number
     of wives, as a proof of his wealth. Similar ideas prevail
     all down the Zambesi."

Some amusing instances are reported by Burton (_T.T.G.L._, I., 36, 78,
79). The lord of an African village appeared to be much ashamed
because he had only two wives. His sole excuse was that he was only a
boy--about twenty-two. Regarding the Mpongwe of the Gaboon, Burton
says: "Polygamy is, of course, the order of the day; it is a necessity
to the men, and even the women disdain to marry a 'one-wifer.'" In his
book on the Kafirs of the Hindu-Kush, G.S. Robertson writes:

     "It is considered a reproach to have only one wife, a
     sign of poverty and insignificance. There was on one
     occasion a heated discussion at Kamdesh concerning the
     best plans to be adopted to prepare for an expected
     attack. A man sitting on the outskirts of the assembly
     controverted something the priest said. Later on the
     priest turned round fiercely and demanded to be told
     how a man with 'only one wife' presumed to offer an
     opinion at all."

His religion allowed a Mohammedan to take four legitimate wives, while
their prophet himself had a larger number. A Hindoo was permitted by
the laws of Manu to marry four women if he belonged to the highest
caste, but if he was of the lowest caste he was condemned to monogamy.

King Solomon was held in honor though he had unnumbered wives,
concubines, and virgins at his disposal.

How far the sentiment of monogamy--one of the essential ingredients of
Romantic Love--had penetrated the skulls of American Indians may be
inferred from the amusing and typical details related by the historian
Parkman (_O.T._, chap. xi.) of the Dakota or Sioux Indians, among whom
he sojourned. The man most likely to become the next chief was a
fellow named Mahto-Tatonka, whose father had left a family of thirty,
which number the young man was evidently anxious to beat:

     "Though he appeared not more than twenty-one years old,
     he had oftener struck the enemy, and stolen more horses
     and more squaws than any young man in the village. We
     of the civilized world are not apt to attach much
     credit to the latter species of exploits; but
     horse-stealing is well-known as an avenue to
     distinction on the prairies, and the other kind of
     depredation is esteemed equally meritorious. Not that
     the act can confer fame from its own intrinsic merits.
     Any one can steal a squaw, and if he chooses afterward
     to make an adequate present to her rightful proprietor,
     the easy husband for the most part rests content; his
     vengeance falls asleep, and all danger from that
     quarter is averted. Yet this is esteemed but a pitiful
     and mean-spirited transaction. The danger is averted,
     but the glory of the achievement also is lost.
     Mahto-Tatonka proceeded after a more gallant and
     dashing fashion. Out of several dozen squaws whom he
     had stolen, he could boast that he had never paid for
     one, but snapping his fingers in the face of the
     injured husband, had defied the extremity of his
     indignation, and no one had yet dared to lay the hand
     of violence upon him. He was following close in the
     footsteps of his father. The young men and the young
     squaws, each in their way, admired him. The one would
     always follow him to war, and he was esteemed to have
     an unrivalled charm in the eyes of the other."

Thus the admiration of the men, the love (Indian style) of the women,
and the certainty of the chieftainship--the highest honor accessible
to an Indian--were the rewards of actions which in a civilized
community would soon bring such a "brave" to the gallows. Some of the
agencies by which the belief that wife-stealing and polygamy are
honorable was displaced by the modern sentiment in favor of monogamy,
will be considered later on. Here I simply wish to enforce the
additional moral that not only the _ideas_ regarding bigamy and
polygamy have changed, but the _emotions_ aroused by such actions;
execration having taken the place of admiration. Judging by such
cases, is it likely that ideas concerning women and love could change
so utterly as they have since the days of the ancient Greeks, without
changing the emotions of love itself? Sentiments consist of ideas and
emotions. If both are altered, the sentiments must have changed as a
matter of course. Let us take as a further example the sentiment of


There are many Christian women who, if offered the choice between
death and walking naked down the street, would choose death as being
preferable to eternal disgrace and social suicide. If they preferred
the other alternative, they would be arrested and, if known to be
respectable, sent to an insane asylum. The English legend relates that
"peeping Tom" was struck blind because he did not stay in the house as
commanded when the good Lady Godiva was obliged to ride naked through
the market-place. So strong, indeed, is the sentiment of modesty in
our community that the old-fashioned philosophers used to maintain it
was an innate instinct, always present under normal conditions. The
fact that every child has to be gradually taught to avoid indecent
exposure, ought to have enlightened these philosophers as to their
error, which is further made plain to the orthodox by the Biblical
story that in the beginning of human life the man and his wife were
both naked and not ashamed.

Naked and not ashamed is the condition of primitive man wherever
climatic and other motives do not prescribe dress. Writing of the
Arabs at Wat El Negur, Samuel Baker says (_N.T.A_., 265):

     "Numbers of young girls and women were accustomed to
     bathe perfectly naked in the river just before our
     tent. I employed them to catch small fish for bait; and
     for hours they would amuse themselves in this way,
     screaming with excitement and fun, and chasing the
     small fry with their long clothes in lieu of nets;
     their figures were generally well-shaped.... The men
     were constantly bathing in the clear waters of the
     Athabara, and were perfectly naked, although close to
     the women; we soon became accustomed to this daily
     scene, as we do at Brighton and other English bathing

In his work on German Africa (II., 123) Zöller says that in Togoland

     "the young girls did not hesitate in the least to remove
     their only article of clothing, a narrow strip of cloth, rub
     themselves with a native soap and then take a dip in the
     lagoon, before the eyes of white men as well as black."

A page would be required merely to enumerate the tribes in Africa,
Australia, and South America which never wear any clothing.

Max Buchner (352-4) gives a graphic description (1878) of the nude
female surf swimmers in the Hawaiian Islands. Nor is this indifference
to nudity manifested only by these primitive races. In Japan, to the
present day, men and women bathe in the same room, separated merely by
a partition, two or three feet high.[8] Zöller relates of the Cholos
of Ecuador (_P. and A_., 364) that "men and women bathe together in
the rivers with a naïveté surpassing that of the South Sea Islanders."
A writer in the _Ausland_ (1870, p. 294) reports that in Paraguay he
saw the women washing their only dress, and while they waited for the
sun to dry it, they stood by naked calmly smoking their cigars.

But natural indifference to nudity is the least of the curiosities of
modesty. Sometimes nakedness is actually prescribed by law or by
strict etiquette. In Rohl all women who are not Arabic are forbidden
to wear clothing of any sort. The King of Mandingo allowed no women,
not even princesses, to approach him unless they were naked (Hellwald,
77-8). Dubois (I., 265) says that in some of the southern provinces of
India the women of certain castes must uncover their body from the
head to the girdle when speaking to a man: "It would be thought a want
of politeness and good breeding to speak to men with that part of the
body clothed."

In his travels among the Cameroon negroes Zöller (II., 185) came
across a strange bit of religious etiquette in regard to nudity. The
women there wear nothing but a loin cloth, except in case of a death,
when, like ourselves, they appear all in black--with a startling
difference, however. One day, writes Zöller,

     "I was astounded to see a number of women and girls
     strolling about stark naked before the house of a man who
     had died of diphtheria. This, I was told, was their mourning
     dress.... The same custom prevails in other parts of West

Modesty is as fickle as fashion and assumes almost as many different
forms as dress itself. In most Australian tribes the women (as well as
the men) go naked, yet in a few they not only wear clothes but go out
of sight to bathe. Stranger still, the Pele islanders were so
innocent of all idea of clothing that when they first saw Europeans
they believed that their clothes were their skins. Nevertheless, the
men and women bathed in different places. Among South American Indians
nudity is the rule, whereas some North American Indians used to place
guards near the swimming-places of the women, to protect them from
spying eyes.

According to Gill (230), the Papuans of Southwestern New Guinea "glory
in their nudeness and consider clothing fit only for women." There are
many places where the women alone were clothed, while in others the
women alone were naked. Mtesa, the King of Uganda, who died in 1884,
inflicted the death penalty on any man who dared to approach him
without having every inch of his legs carefully covered; but the women
who acted as his servants were stark naked (Hellwald, 78).

While the etiquette of modesty is thus subject to an endless variety
of details, every nation and tribe enforces its own ideal of propriety
as the only correct thing. In Tahiti and Tonga it would be considered
highly indecent to go about without being tattooed. Among Samoans and
other Malayans the claims of propriety are satisfied if only the navel
is covered. "The savage tribes of Sumatra and Celebes have a like
feeling about the knee, which is always carefully covered"
(Westermarck, 207). In China it is considered extremely indecent if a
woman allows her bare feet to be seen, even by her husband, and a
similar idea prevails among some Turkish women, who carefully wrap up
their feet before they go to bed (Ploss, I., 344). Hindoo women must
not show their faces, but it is not improper to wear a dress so gauzy
that the whole figure is revealed through it. "In Moruland," says Emin

     "the women mostly go about absolutely naked, a few only
     attaching a leaf behind to their waistband. It is curious to
     note, on meeting a bevy of these uncovered beauties carrying
     water, that the first thing they do with their free hand is
     to cover the face."

These customs prevail in all Moslem countries. Mariti relates in his
_Viaggi_ (II., 288):

     "Travelling in summer across the fields of Syria I
     repeatedly came across groups of women, entirely naked,
     washing themselves near a well. They did not move from the
     place, but simply covered the face with one hand, their
     whole modesty consisting in the desire not to be

Sentimental topsy-turviness reaches its climax in those cases where
women who usually go naked are ashamed to be seen clothed. Such cases
are cited by several writers,[9] and appear to be quite common. The
most amusing instance I have come across is in a little-known volume
on Venezuela by Lavayasse, who writes (190):

     "It is known that those [Indians] of the warm climates
     of South America, among whom civilization has not made
     any progress, have no other dress than a small apron,
     or kind of bandage, to hide their nakedness. A lady of
     my acquaintance had contracted a kindness for a young
     Paria Indian woman, who was extremely handsome. We had
     given her the name of Grace. She was sixteen years old,
     and had lately been married to a young Indian of
     twenty-five, who was our sportsman. This lady took a
     pleasure in teaching her to sew and embroider. We said
     to her one day, 'Grace, you are extremely pretty, speak
     French well, and are always with us: you ought not
     therefore to live like the other native women, and we
     shall give you some clothes. Does not your husband wear
     trousers and a shirt?' Upon this she consented to be
     dressed. The lady lost no time in arranging her dress,
     a ceremony at which I had the honor of assisting. We
     put on a shift, petticoats, stockings, shoes, and a
     Madras handkerchief on her head. She looked quite
     enchanting, and saw herself in the looking-glass with
     great complacency. Suddenly her husband returned from
     shooting, with three or four Indians, when the whole
     party burst into a loud fit of laughter at her, and
     began to joke about her new habiliments. Grace was
     quite abashed, blushed, wept, and ran to hide herself
     in the bed-chamber of the lady, where she stript
     herself of the clothes, went out of the window, and
     returned naked into the room. A proof that when her
     husband saw her dressed for the first time, she felt a
     sensation somewhat similar to that which a European
     woman might experience who was surprised without her
     usual drapery."

Another paradox remains to be noted. Anthropologists have now proved
beyond all possibility of doubt that modesty, far from having led to
the use of clothing, was itself merely a secondary consequence of the
gradual adoption of apparel as a protection. They have also shown[10]
that the earliest forms of dress were extremely scanty, and were
intended not to cover certain parts of the body, but actually and
wantonly to call attention to them, while in other cases the only
parts of the body habitually covered were such as we should consider
it no special impropriety to leave uncovered. But enough has been said
to demonstrate what we started out to prove: that the strong sentiment
of modesty in our community--so strong that many insist it must be
part and parcel of human nature (like love!)--has, like all the other
sentiments here discussed, grown up slowly from microscopic


Closely connected with modesty, and yet entirely distinct from it, is
another and still stronger sentiment--the regard for chastity. Many an
American officer whose brave wife accompanied him in a frontier war
has been asked by her to promise that he would shoot her with his own
revolver rather than let her fall into the clutches of licentious
Indians. Though deliberate murder is punishable by death, no American
jury has ever convicted a man for slaying the seducer of his wife,
daughter, or sister. Modern law punishes rape with death, and its
victim is held to have suffered a fate worse than death. The brightest
of all jewels in a bride's crown of virtues is chastity--a jewel
without which all the others lose their value. Yet this jewel of
jewels formerly had no more value than a pebble in a brook-bed. The
sentiment in behalf of chastity had no existence for ages, and for a
long time after it came into existence chastity was known not as a
virtue but only as a necessity, inculcated by fear of punishment or
loss of worldly advantages.

In support of this statement a whole volume might be written; but as
abundant evidence will be given in later chapters relating to the
lower races in Africa, Australia, Polynesia, America, and Asia, only a
few instances need be cited here. In his recent work on the _Origin
and Growth of the Moral Sense_ (1898), Alexander Sutherland, an
Australian author, writes (I., 180):

     "In the House of Commons papers for 1844 will be found
     some 350 printed pages of reports, memoranda, and
     letters, gathered by the standing committee appointed
     in regard to the treatment of aboriginals in the
     Australian colonies. All these have the same unlovely
     tale to tell of an absolute incapacity to form even a
     rudimentary notion of chastity. One worthy missionary,
     who had been for some years settled among tribes of New
     South Wales, _as yet brought in contact with no other
     white men_, writes with horror of what he had observed.
     The conduct of the females, even young children, is
     most painful; they are cradled in prostitution and
     fostered in licentiousness. Brough Smith (II., 240)
     quotes several authorities who record that in Western
     Australia the women in early youth were almost
     prostitutes. 'For about six months after their
     initiation into manhood the youths were allowed an
     unbounded licence, and there was no possible blame
     attached to the young unmarried girl who entertained
     them'" (179).

In Lewis and Clark's account of their expedition across the American
Continent they came to the conclusion that there was an utter absence
of regard for chastity "among all Indians," and they relate the
following as a sample (439):

     "Among all the tribes, a man will lend his wife or
     daughter for a fish-hook or a strand of beads. To
     decline an offer of this sort is indeed to disparage
     the charms of the lady, and therefore gives such
     offence, that, although we had occasionally to treat
     the Indians with rigor, nothing seemed to irritate both
     sexes more than our refusal to accept the favors of the
     females. On one occasion we were amused by a Clatsop,
     who, having been cured of some disorder by our medical
     skill, brought his sister as a reward for our kindness.
     The young lady was quite anxious to join in this
     expression of her brother's gratitude, and mortified we
     did not avail ourselves of it."

De Varigny, who lived forty years in the Hawaiian Islands, says (159)

     "the chief difficulty of the missionaries in the Sandwich
     Islands was teaching the women chastity; they knew neither
     the word nor the thing. Adultery, incest, fornication, were
     the common order of things, accepted by public opinion, and
     even consecrated by religion."

The same is true of other Polynesians, the Tahitians, for instance, of
whom Captain Cook wrote that they are

     "people who have not even the idea of decency, and who
     gratify every appetite and passion before witnesses, with no
     more sense of impropriety than we feel when we satisfy our
     hunger at a social board with our friends."

Among the highest of all these island peoples, the Tongans, the only
restriction to incontinence was that the lover must not be changed too

What Dalton says of the Chilikata Mishmis, one of the wild tribes of
India, applies to many of the lower races in all parts of the world:

     "Marriage ceremony there is, I believe, none; it is
     simply an affair of purchase, and the women thus
     obtained, if they can be called wives, are not much
     bound by the tie. The husbands do not expect them to be
     chaste; they take no cognizance of their temporary
     liaisons so long as they are not deprived of their
     services. If a man is dispossessed of one of his wives,
     he has a private injury to avenge, and takes the
     earliest opportunity of retaliating, but he cannot see
     that a woman is a bit the worse for a little

In many cases not only was there complete indifference to chastity,
but virginity in a bride was actually looked on with disfavor. The
Finnish Votyaks considered it honorable in a girl to be a mother
before she was a wife. The Central American Chibchas were like the
Philippine Bisayos, of whom a sixteenth century writer, quoted by
Jagor, said that a man is unhappy to find his bride above suspicion,
"because, not having been desired by anyone, she must have some bad
quality which will prevent him from being happy with her."

The wide prevalence in all parts of the world of the custom of lending
or exchanging wives, or offering wife or daughter to a guest,[11] also
bears witness to the utter indifference to chastity, conjugal and
maiden; as does the custom known as the _jus primae noctis._ Dr. Karl
Schmidt has tried very hard to prove that such a "right" to the bride
never existed. But no one can read his treatises without noting that
his argument rests on a mere quibble, the word _jus_. There may have
been no codified _law_ or "right" allowing kings, bishops, chiefs,
landlords, medicine men, and priests to claim brides first, but that
the _privilege_ existed in various countries and was extensively made
use of, there can be no doubt. Westermarck (73-80), Letourneau
(56-62), Ploss (I., 400-405), and others have collected abundant
proofs. Here I have room for only a few instances, showing that those
whom we would consider the _victims_ of such a horrible custom, not
only submitted to it with resignation, but actually looked on it as an
_honor_ and a highly coveted privilege.

     "The aboriginal inhabitants of Teneriffe are
     represented as having married no woman who had not
     previously spent a night with the chief, which was
     considered a great honor."

     "Navarette tells us that, on the coast of Malabar, the
     bridegroom brought the bride to the King, who kept her
     eight days in the palace; and the man took it 'as a
     great honor and favor that the King should make use of

     "Egede informs us that the women of Greenland thought
     themselves fortunate if an Angekokk, or prophet,
     honored them with his caresses; and some husbands even
     paid him, because they believed that the child of such
     a holy man could not but be happier and better than
     others." (Westermarck, 77, 80.)

     "In Cumana the priests, who were regarded as holy,
     slept only with unmarried women, 'porque tenian por
     honorosa costumbre que ellos las quitassen la
     virginidad.'" (Bastian, _K.A.A._, II., 228.)

From this lowest depth of depravity it would be interesting, if space
and the architectural plan of this volume permitted, to trace the
growth of the sentiment which demands chastity; noting, in the first
place, how married women were compelled, by the jealous fury of their
masters, to practise continence; how, very much later, virginity began
to be valued, not, indeed, at first, as a virtue having a value and
charm of its own, but as a means of enhancing the market value of
brides. Indifference to masculine chastity continued much longer
still. The ancient civilized nations had advanced far enough to value
purity in wives and maidens, but it hardly occurred to them that it
was man's duty to cultivate the same virtue. Even so austere and
eminent a moral philosopher as Cicero declared that one would have to
be very severe indeed to ask young men to refrain from illicit
relations. The mediaeval church fathers endeavored for centuries to
enforce the doctrine that men should be as pure as women, with what
success, every one knows. A more powerful agency in effecting a reform
was the loathsome disease which in the fifteenth century began to
sweep away millions of licentious men, and led to the survival of the
fittest from the moral point of view. The masculine standard is still
low, but immense progress has been made during the last hundred years.
The number of prostitutes in Europe is still estimated at seven
hundred thousand, yet that makes only seven to every thousand females,
and though there are many other unchaste women, it is safe to say that
in England and America, at any rate, more than nine hundred out of
every thousand females are chaste, whereas among savages, as a rule,
nearly all females are prostitutes (in the moral sense of the word),
before they marry. In view of this astounding progress there is no
reason to despair regarding man's future. It would be a great triumph
of civilization if the average man could be made as pure as the
average woman. At the same time, since the consequences of sin are
infinitely more serious in women, it is eminently proper that they
should be in the van of moral progress.

Chastity, modesty, polygamy, murder, religion, and nature have now
furnished us an abundance of illustrations showing the changeableness
and former non-existence of sentiments which in us are so strong that
we are inclined to fancy they must have been the same always and
everywhere. Before proceeding to prove that romantic love is another
sentiment of which the same may be said, let us pause a moment to
discuss a sentiment which presents one of the most difficult problems
in the psychology of love, the Horror of Incest.


A young man does not fall in love with his sister though she be the
most attractive girl he knows. Nor does her father fall in love with
her, nor the mother with the son, or the son with the mother. Not only
is there no sexual love between them, but the very idea of marriage
fills their mind with unutterable horror, and in the occasional cases
where such a marriage is made through ignorance of the relationship,
both parties usually commit suicide, though they are guiltless of
deliberate crime. Here we have the most striking and absolute proof
that circumstances, habits, ideas, laws, customs, can and do utterly
annihilate sexual love in millions of individuals. Why then should it
be so unlikely that the laws and customs of the ancient Greeks, for
instance, with their ideas about women and marriage, should have
prevented the growth of sentimental love? Note the modesty of my
claim. While it is certain that both the sensual and the sentimental
sides of sexual love are stifled by the horror of incest, all that I
claim in regard to ancient and primitive races is that the sentimental
side of love was smothered by unfavorable circumstances and hindered
in growth by various obstacles which will be described later on in
this volume. Surely this is not such a reckless theory as it seemed to
some of my critics.

Like the other sentiments discussed in this chapter, the horror of
incest has been found to be absent among races in various stages of
development. Incestuous unions occurred among Chippewas and other
American Indians. Of the Peruvian Indians, Garcilasso de la Vega says
that some cohabited with their sisters, daughters, or mothers; similar
facts are recorded of some Brazilians, Polynesians, Africans, and wild
tribes of India. "Among the Annamese, according to a missionary who
has lived among them for forty years, no girl who is twelve years old
and has a brother is a virgin" (Westermarck, 292). Gypsies allow a
brother to marry a sister, while among the Veddahs of Ceylon the
marriage of a man with his younger sister is considered _the_ proper
marriage. In the Indian Archipelago and elsewhere there are tribes who
permit marriage between parents and their children. The legends of
India and Hindoo theology abound in allusions to incestuous unions,
and a nation's mythology reflects its own customs. According to Strabo
the ancient Irish married their mothers and sisters. Among the
love-stories of the ancient Greeks, as we shall see later on, there
are a surprising number the subject of which is incest, indicating
that that crime was of not infrequent occurrence. But it is especially
by royal personages that incest has been practised. In ancient Persia,
Parthia, Egypt, and other countries the kings married their own
sisters, as did the Incas of Peru, for political reasons, other women
being regarded as too low in rank to become queens; and the same
phenomenon occurs in Hawaii, Siam, Burma, Ceylon, Madagascar, etc. In
some cases incestuous unions for kings and priests are even prescribed
by religion. At the licentious festivals common among tribes in
America, Africa, India, and elsewhere, incest was one of the many
forms of bestiality indulged in; this gives it a wide prevalence.

Much ingenuity has been expended in attempts to account for the origin
of the horror of incest. The main reason why it has so far remained
more or less of a mystery, is that each writer advanced a single
cause, which he pressed into service to explain all the facts, the
result being confusion and contradiction. In my opinion different
agencies must be assumed in different cases. When we find among
Australians, American Indians (and even the Chinese), customs,
enforced by the strongest feelings, forbidding a man to marry a woman
belonging to the same clan or having the same surname, though not at
all related, while allowing a marriage with a sister or other near
blood relative, we are obviously not dealing with a question of incest
at all, but with some of the foolish taboos prevalent among these
races, the origin of which they themselves have forgotten. Mr. Andrew
Lang probably hit the nail on the head when he said (258) in regard to
the rule which compels savages to marry only outside of the tribe,
that these prohibitions "must have arisen in a stage of culture when
ideas of kindred were confused, included kinship with animals and
plants, and were to us almost, if not quite, unintelligible." To speak
of instinct and natural selection teaching the Veddahs to abhor
marriage with an elder sister while making union with a younger sister
_the_ proper marriage (Westermarck, 292) is surely to assume that
instinct and natural selection act in an asinine way, which they never
do--except in asses.

In a second class of cases, where lower races have ideas similar to
ours, I believe that the origin of domestic chastity must be sought in
utilitarian practices. In the earlier stages of marriage, girls are
usually bought of their parents, who profit by the sale or barter. Now
when a man marries a girl to be his wife and maid of all work, he does
not want to take her to his home hampered by a bevy of young children.
Fathers guilty of incestuous practices would therefore be unable to
dispose of their daughters to advantage, and thus a prejudice in favor
of domestic purity would gradually arise which a shrewd medicine man
would some day raise to the rank of a religious or social taboo.

As regards modern society, Darwin, Brinton, Hellwald, Bentham, and
others have advocated or endorsed the view that the reason why such a
horror of incestuous unions prevails, is that novelty is the chief
stimulus to the sexual feelings, and that the familiarity of the same
household breeds indifference. I do not understand how any thinker can
have held such a view for one moment. When Bentham wrote (_Theory of
Legislation_, pt. iii., chap. V.) that "individuals accustomed to see
each other from an age which is capable neither of conceiving desire
nor of inspiring it, will see each other with the same eyes to the end
of life," he showed infinitely less knowledge of human nature than the
author of _Paul and Virginia_, who makes a boy and a girl grow up
almost like brother and sister, and at the proper time fall violently
in love with one another. Who cannot recall in his own experience love
marriages of schoolmates or of cousins living in intimate association
from their childhood? To say that such bringing up together creates
"indifference" is obviously incorrect; to say that it leads to
"aversion" is altogether unwarranted; and to trace to it such a
feeling as our horror at the thought of marrying a sister, or mother,
is simply preposterous.

The real source of the horror of incest in civilized communities was
indicated more than two thousand years ago by Plato. He believed that
the reason why incestuous unions were avoided and abhorred, was to be
found in the constant inculcation, at home and in literature, that

     "They are unholy, hated of God, and most infamous....
     Everyone from his earliest childhood has heard men
     speaking in the same manner about them always and
     everywhere, whether in comedy or in the graver language
     of tragedy. When the poet introduces on the stage a
     Thyestes or an Oedipus, or a Macareus having secret
     intercourse with his sister, he represents him, when
     found out, ready to kill himself as the penalty of his
     sin." (_Laws,_ VIII., 838.)

Long before Plato another great "medicine man," Moses, saw the
necessity of enforcing a "taboo" against incest by the enactment of
special severe laws relating to intercourse between relatives; and
that there was no "instinct" against incest in his time is shown by
the fact that he deemed it necessary to make such circumstantial laws
for his own people, and by his specific testimony that "in all these
things the nations are defiled which I cast out from before you, and
the land is defiled." Regarding his motives in making such laws,
Milman has justly remarked (_H.J_., I., 220),

     "The leading principle of these enactments was to
     prohibit near marriage between those parties among
     whom, by the usage of their society, early and frequent
     intimacy was unavoidable and might lead to abuse."

If Moses lived now, he would still be called upon to enact his laws;
for to this day the horror of incest is a sentiment which it is
necessary to keep up and enforce by education, moral precept,
religion, and law. It is no more innate or instinctive than the
sentiment of modesty, the regard for chastity, or the disapproval of
bigamy. Children are not born with it any more than with the feeling
that it is improper to be seen naked. Medical writers bear witness to
the wide prevalence of unnatural practices among children, even in
good families, while in the slums of the large cities, where the
families are herded like swine, there is a horrible indulgence in
every kind of incest by adults as well as children.

Absolute proof that the horror of incest is not innate lies
furthermore in the unquestionable fact that a man can escape the
calamity of falling in love with his sister or daughter only if he
_knows_ the relationship. There are many instances on record--to which
the daily press adds others--of incestuous unions brought about by
ignorance of the consanguinity. Oedipus was not saved by an instinct
from marrying his mother. It was only after the discovery of the
relationship that his mind was filled with unutterable horror, while
his wife and mother committed suicide. This case, though legendary, is
typical--a mirror of actuality--showing how potent _ideas_ are to
alter _emotions_. Yet I am assailed for asserting that the Greeks and
the lower races, whose ideas regarding women, love, polygamy,
chastity, and marriage were so different from ours, also differed from
us in their feelings--the quality of their love. There were numerous
obstacles to overcome before romantic love was able to
emerge--obstacles so serious and diverse that it is a wonder they were
ever conquered. But before considering those obstacles it will be
advisable to explain definitely just what romantic love is and how it
differs from the sensual "love" or lust which, of course, has always
existed among men as among other animals.


How does it feel to be in love?

When a man loves a girl, he feels such an overwhelming _individual
preference_ for her that though she were a beggar-maid he would scorn
the offer to exchange her for an heiress, a princess, or the goddess
of beauty herself. To him she seems to have a monopoly of all the
feminine charms, and she therefore monopolizes his thoughts and
feelings to the exclusion of all other interests, and he longs not
only for her reciprocal affection but for a monopoly of it. "Does she
love me?" he asks himself a hundred times a day. "Sometimes she seems
to treat me with cold indifference--is that merely the instinctive
assertion of feminine _coyness_, or does she prefer another man?" The
pangs, the agony of _jealousy_ overcome him at this thought. He hopes
one moment, despairs the next, till his _moods_ become so _mixed_ that
he hardly knows whether he is happy or miserable. He, who is usually
so bold and self-confident, is humbled; feels utterly unworthy of her.
In his fancy she soars so far above all other women that calling her
an angel seems not a _hyperbole_, but a compliment to the angel.
Toward such a superior being the only proper attitude is _adoration_.
She is spotless as an angel, and his feelings toward her are as
_pure_, as free from coarse cravings, as if she were a goddess. How
royally _proud_ a man must feel at the thought of being preferred
above all mortals by this divine being! In _personal beauty_ had she
ever a peer? Since Venus left this planet, has such grace been seen?
In face of her, the strongest of all impulses--selfishness--is
annihilated. The lover is no longer "number one" to himself; his own
pleasures and comforts are ignored in the eager desire to please her,
to show her _gallant_ attentions. To save her from disaster or grief
he is ready to _sacrifice_ his life. His cordial _sympathy_ makes him
share all her joys and sorrows, and his _affection_ for her, though he
may have known her only a few days--nay, a few minutes--is as strong
and devoted as that of a mother for the child that is her own flesh
and blood.


No one who has ever been truly in love will deny that this
description, however romantic it may seem in its apparent
exaggeration, is a realistic reflection of his feelings and impulses.
As this brief review shows, Individual Preference, Monopolism,
Coyness, Jealousy, Mixed Moods of Hope and Despair, Hyperbole,
Adoration, Purity, Pride, Admiration of Personal Beauty, Gallantry,
Self-sacrifice, Sympathy, and Affection, are the essential ingredients
in that very composite mental state, which we call romantic love.
Coyness, of course, occurs only in feminine love, and there are other
sexual differences which will be noted later on. Here I wish to point
out that the fourteen ingredients named may be divided into two groups
of seven each--the egoistic and the altruistic. The prevailing notion
that love is a species of selfishness--a "double selfishness," some
wiseacre has called it--is deplorably untrue and shows how little the
psychology of love has heretofore been understood.

It has indeed an egoistic side, including the ingredients I have
called Individual Preference, Monopolism, Jealousy, Coyness,
Hyperbole, Mixed Moods, and Pride; and it is not a mere accident that
these are also the seven features which may be found in sensual love
too; for sensuality and selfishness are twins. But the later and more
essential characteristics of romantic love are the altruistic and
supersensual traits--Sympathy, Affection, Gallantry, Self-sacrifice,
Adoration, Purity, and Admiration of Personal Beauty. The two
divisions overlap in some places, but in the main they are accurate.
It is certain that the first group precedes the second, but the order
in which the ingredients in each group first made their appearance
cannot be indicated, as we know too little of the early history of
man. The arrangement here adopted is therefore more or less arbitrary.
I shall try in this long chapter to answer the question "What is
Romantic Love?" by discussing each of its fourteen ingredients and
tracing its evolution separately.


If a man pretended to be in love with a girl while confessing that he
liked other girls equally well and would as soon marry one as another,
everybody would laugh at him; for however ignorant many persons may be
as to the subtler traits of sentimental love, it is known universally
that a decided and obstinate preference for one particular individual
is an absolute condition of true love.


As I have just intimated, a modern romantic lover would not exchange a
beloved beggar-maid for an heiress or princess; nor would he give her
for a dozen other girls, however charming, and with permission to
marry them all. Now if romantic love had always existed, the lower
races would have the same violent and exclusive preference for
individuals. But what are the facts? I assert, without fear of
contradiction from any one familiar with anthropological literature,
that a savage or barbarian, be he Australian, African, American, or
Asiatic, would laugh at the idea of refusing to exchange one woman for
a dozen others equally young and attractive. It is not necessary to
descend to the lowest savages to find corroboration of this view. Dr.
Zöller, an unusually intelligent and trustworthy observer, says, in
one of his volumes on German Africa (III., 70-71), that

     "on the whole no distinction whatever is made between woman
     and woman, between the good-looking and the ugly, the
     intelligent and the stupid ones. In all my African
     experiences I have never heard of a single young man or
     woman who conceived a violent passion for a particular
     individual of the opposite sex."

So in other parts of Africa. The natives of Borgou, we are told by R.
and J. Lander, marry with perfect indifference. "A man takes no more
thought about choosing a wife than he does in picking a head of
wheat." Among the Kaffirs, says Fritsch (112) it may occur that a man
has an inclination toward a particular girl; but he adds that "in
such cases the suitor is obliged to pay several oxen more than is
customary, and as he usually takes cattle more to heart than women,
such cases are rare;" and though, when he has several wives, he may
have a favorite, the attachment to her is shallow and transient, for
she is at any moment liable to displacement by a new-comer. Among the
Hottentots at Angra Pequena, when a man covets a girl he goes to her
hut, prepares a cup of coffee and hands it to her without saying a
word. If she drinks half of it, he knows the answer is Yes. "If she
refuses to touch the coffee, the suitor is not specially grieved, but
proceeds to another hut to try his luck again in the same way."
(Ploss, I., 454.)

Of the Fijians Williams (148) says: "Too commonly there is no express
feeling of connubial bliss, men speak of 'our women' and women of 'our
men' without any distinctive preference being apparent." Catlin,
speaking (70-71) of the matrimonial arrangements of the Pawnee
Indians, says that daughters are held as legitimate merchandise, and,
as a rule, accept the situation "with the apathy of the race." A man
who advertised for a wife would hardly be accused of individual
preference or anything else indicating love. From a remark made by
George Gibbs (197) we may infer that the Indians of Oregon and
Washington used to advertise for wives, in their own fashion:

     "It is not unusual to find on the small prairies human
     figures rudely carved upon trees. These I have
     understood to have been cut by young men who were in
     want of wives, as a sort of practical intimation that
     they were in the market as purchasers."

It might be suggested that such a crude love-letter _to the sex in
general_, as compared with one of our own love-letters to a particular
girl, gives a fair idea of what Indian love is, compared with the love
of civilized men and women.


Even where there is an appearance of predilection it is apt to be
shallow and fragile. In the _Jesuit Relations_ (XVIII., 129) we read
how a Huron youth came to one of the missionaries and said he needed a
wife to make his snow-shoes and clothes. "I am in love with a young
girl," said he. "I beg you to call my relatives together and to
consider whether she is suitable for me. If you decide that it is for
my good, I will marry her; if not, I will follow your advice." Other
young Indians used to come to the missionaries to ask them to find
wives for them. I have been struck, in reading Indian love-stories, by
the fact that their gist usually lies not in an exhibition of decided
preference for one man but of violent _aversion_ to another--some old
and disagreeable suitor. It is well known, too, that among Indians, as
among Australians, marriage was sometimes considered an affair of the
tribe rather than of the individual; and we have some curious
illustrations of the way in which various tribes of Indians would try
to crush the germs of individual preference.


Thus Hunter relates (243) of the Missouri and Arkansas tribes that "It
is considered disgraceful for a young Indian publicly to prefer one
woman to another until he has distinguished himself either in war or
in the chase." Should an Indian pay any girl, though he may have known
her from childhood, special attention before he has won reputation as
a warrior, "he would be sure to suffer the painful mortification of a
rejection; he would become the derision of the warriors and the
contempt of the squaws." In the _Jesuit Relations_ (III., 73) we read
of some of the Canadian Indians that

     "they have a very rude way of making love; for the
     suitor, as soon as he shows a preference for a girl,
     does not dare look at her, nor speak to her, nor stay
     near her unless accidentally; and then he must force
     himself not to look her in the face, nor to give any
     sign of his passion, otherwise he would be the
     laughing-stock of all, and his sweetheart would blush
     for him."

Not only must he show no preference, but the choice, too, is not left
to him; for the relatives take up the matter and decide whether his
age, skill as a hunter, reputation, and family make him a desirable

In the face of such facts, can we agree with Rousseau that to a savage
one woman is as good as another? The question is very difficult to
answer, because if a man is to marry at all, he must choose a
particular girl, and this choice can be interpreted as preference,
though it may be quite accidental. It is probable, as I have
suggested, that with a people as low as the Australians it would be
difficult to find a man having sufficient predilection for one young
woman to refuse to exchange her for two others. Probably the same is
true of the higher savages and even of the barbarians, as a rule.


We do, indeed, find, at a comparatively early stage, evidences of one
girl or man being chosen in preference to others; but when we examine
these cases closely we see that the choice is not based on _personal_
qualities but on utilitarian considerations of the most selfish or
sensual description. Thus Zöller, in the passage just referred to,
says of the negro:

     "It is true that when he buys a woman he prefers a young
     one, but his motive for so doing is far from being mental
     admiration of beauty. He buys the younger ones because they
     are youthful, strong, and able to work for him."

Similarly Belden, who lived twelve years among the Plains Indians,
states (302) that "the squaws are valued by the middle-aged men only
for their strength and ability to work, and no account whatever is
taken of their personal beauty." The girls are no better than the men.
Young Comanche girls, says Parker (Schoolcraft, V., 683) "are not
averse to marry very old men, particularly if they are chiefs, as they
are always sure of something to eat." In describing Amazon Valley
Indians, Wallace says (497-498) that there is

     "a trial of skill at shooting with the bow and arrow,
     and if the young man does not show himself a good
     marksman, the girl refuses him, on the ground that he
     will not be able to shoot fish and game enough for the

These cases are typical, and might be multiplied indefinitely; they
show how utterly individual preference on personal grounds is out of
the question here. It is true that many of our own girls marry for
such utilitarian reasons; but no one would be so foolish as to speak
of these marriages as love-matches, whereas in the cases of savages we
are often invited by sentimentalists to witness the "manifestation of
love" whenever a man shows a utilitarian or sensual interest in a
particular girl. A modern civilized lover marries a girl for her own
sake, because he is enamoured of her individuality, whereas the
uncivilized suitor cares not a fig for the other's individuality; he
takes her as an instrument of lust, a drudge, or as a means of raising
a family, in order that the superstitious rites of ancestor-worship
may be kept up and his selfish soul rest in peace in the next world.
He cares not for her personally, for if she proves barren he
repudiates her and marries another. Trial marriages are therefore
widely prevalent. The Dyaks of Borneo, as St. John tells us, often
make as many as seven or eight such marriages; with them marriage is
"a business of partnership for the purpose of having children,
dividing labor, and by means of their offspring providing for their
old age."


An amusing incident related by Ernst von Weber (II., 215-6) indicates
how easily utilitarian considerations override such skin-deep
preference as may exist among Africans. He knew a girl named Yanniki
who refused to marry a young Kaffir suitor though she confessed that
she liked him. "I cannot take him," she said, "as he can offer only
ten cows for me and my father wants fifteen." Weber observed, that it
was not kind of her father to let a few cows stand in the way of her
happiness; but the African damsel did not fall in with his sentimental
view of the case. Business and vanity were to her much more important
matters than individual preference for a particular lover, and she
exclaimed, excitedly:

     "What! You expect my father to give me away for ten
     cows? That would be a fine sort of a bargain! Am I not
     worth more than Cilli, for whom the Tambuki chief paid
     twelve cows last week? I am pretty, I can cook, sew,
     crochet, speak English, and with all these
     accomplishments you want my father to dispose of me for
     ten miserable cows? Oh, sir, how little you esteem me!
     No, no, my father is quite right in refusing to yield
     in this matter; indeed, in my opinion he might boldly
     ask thirty cows for me, for I am worth that much."


It is not difficult to explain why among the lower races individual
preference either does not occur at all or is so weak and utilitarian
that the difference of a few cows more or less may decide a lover's
fate. Like sunflowers in the same garden, the girls in a tribe differ
so little from one another that there is no particular cause for
discrimination. They are all brought up in exactly the same way, eat
the same food, think the same thoughts, do the same work--carrying
water and wood, dressing skins, moving tents and utensils, etc.; they
are alike uneducated, and marry at the same childish age before their
minds can have unfolded what little is in them; so that there is small
reason why a man should covet one of them much more than another. A
savage may be as eager to possess a woman as a miser is to own a gold
piece: but he has little more reason to prefer one girl to another
than a miser has to prefer one gold piece to another of the same size.

Humboldt observed (_P.E_., 141) that "in barbarous nations there is a
physiognomy peculiar to the tribe or horde rather than to any
individual." It has been noted by various observers that the lower the
race is the more do its individuals thus resemble one another. Nay,
this approximation goes so far as to make even the two sexes much less
distinct than they are with us. Professor Pritsch, in his classical
treatise on the natives of South Africa (407), dwells especially on
the imperfect sexual differentiation of the Bushmen. The faces,
stature, limbs, and even the chest and hips of the women differ so
little from those of the men that in looking at photographs (as he
says and illustrates by specimens), one finds it difficult to tell
them apart, though the figures are almost nude. Both sexes are equally
lean and equally ugly. The same may be said of the typical
Australians, and in Professor and Mrs. Agassiz's _Journey in Brazil_
(530) we read that

     "the Indian woman has a very masculine air, extending
     indeed more or less to her whole bearing; for even her
     features have rarely the feminine delicacy of higher
     womanhood. In the Negro, on the contrary, the
     narrowness of chest and shoulder characteristic of the
     woman is almost as marked in the man; indeed, it may
     well be said, that, while the Indian female is
     remarkable for her masculine build, the negro male is
     equally so for his feminine aspect."

In the _Jesuit Relations_ there are repeated references to the
difficulty of distinguishing squaws from male Indians except by
certain articles of dress. Burton writes of the Sioux _(C.O.S_., 59)
that "the unaccustomed eye often hesitates between the sexes." In
Schoolcraft (V., 274) we are told concerning the Creek women that
"being condemned to perform all the hard labor, they are _universally
masculine in appearance_, without one soft blandishment to render them
desirable or lovely." Nor is there anything alluringly feminine in the
disposition which, as all observers agree, makes Indian women more
cruel in torture than the most pitiless men. Equally decisive is the
testimony regarding the similarity of the sexes, physical and mental,
in the islands of the Pacific. Hawkesworth (II., 446) found the women
of New Zealand so lacking in feminine delicacy that it was difficult
to distinguish them from the men, except by their voices. Captain Cook
(II., 246) observed in Fiji differences in form between men and
females, but little difference in features; and of the Hawaiians he
wrote that with few exceptions they

     "have little claim to those peculiarities that
     distinguish the sex in other countries. There is,
     indeed, a more remarkable equality in the size, color,
     and figure of both sexes, than in most places I have


A most important inference may be deduced from these facts. A man does
not, normally, fall in love with a man. He falls in love with a woman,
because she is a woman. Now when, as in the cases cited, the men and
women differ only in regard to the coarsest anatomical peculiarities
known as the primary sexual qualities, it is obvious that their "love"
also can consist only of such coarse feelings and longings as these
primary qualities can inspire. In other words they can know the great
passion only on its sensual side. Love, to them, is not a sentiment
but an appetite, or at best an instinct for the propagation of the

Of the secondary sexual qualities--those not absolutely necessary for
the maintenance of the species--the first to appear prominently in
women is _fat_; and as soon as it does appear, it is made a ground of
individual preference. Brough Smyth tells us that in Australia a fat
woman is never safe from being stolen, no matter how old and ugly she
may be. In the chapter on Personal Beauty I shall marshal a number of
facts showing that among the uncivilized and Oriental races in
general, fat is the criterion of feminine attractiveness. It is so
among coarse men (_i.e._, most men) even in Europe and America to this
day. Hindoo poets, from the oldest times to Kalidasa and from Kalidasa
to the present day, laud their heroines above all things for their
large thighs--thighs so heavy that in walking the feet make an
impression on the ground "deep as an elephant's hoofs."


It is hardly necessary to say that the "love" based on _these_
secondary qualities is not sentimental or romantic. It may,
however--and this is a very important point to remember--be extremely
violent and stubborn. In other words, there may he a strong individual
preference in love that is entirely sensual. Indeed, lust may he as
fastidious as love. Tarquinius coveted Lucretia; no other woman would
have satisfied him. Yet he did not _love_ her. Had he loved _her_ he
would have sacrificed his own life rather than offered violence to one
who valued her honor more than her life. He loved only _himself_; his
one object was to please his beloved ego; he never thought of her
feelings and of the consequences of his act to her. The literature of
ancient Rome, Greece, and Oriental countries is full of such cases of
individualized "love" which, when closely examined, reduce themselves
to cases of selfish lust--eagerness to gratify an appetite with a
particular victim, for whom the "lover" has not a particle of
affection, respect, or sympathy, not to speak of adoration or gallant,
self-sacrificing devotion. Unless we have positive evidence of the
presence of these traits of unselfish affection, we are not entitled
to assume the existence of genuine love; especially among races that
are coarse, unsympathetic, and cruel.


From this point of view we must judge two Indian love-stories related
by Keating (II., 164-166):

     I. A Chippewa named Ogemans, married to a woman called
     Demoya, fell in love with her sister. When she refused
     him he affected insanity. His ravings were terrible,
     and nothing could appease him but her presence; the
     moment he touched her hand or came near her he was
     gentle as they could wish. One time, in the middle of a
     winter night, he sprang from his couch and escaped into
     the woods, howling and screaming in the wildest manner;
     his wife and her sister followed him, but he refused to
     be calmed until the sister (Okoj) laid her hand on him,
     when he became quiet and gentle. This kind of
     performance he kept up a long time till all the
     Indians, including the girl, became convinced he was
     possessed by a spirit which she alone could subdue. So
     she married him and never after was he troubled by a
     return of madness.

     II. A young Canadian had secured the favor of a
     half-breed girl who had been brought up among the
     Chippewas and spoke only their language. Her name was
     Nisette, and she was the daughter of a converted squaw
     who, being very pious, induced the young couple to go
     to an Algonquin village and get regularly married by a
     clergyman. Meanwhile the Canadian's love cooled away,
     and by the time they reached the village he cared no
     more for the poor girl. Soon thereafter she became the
     subject of fits and was finally considered to be quite
     insane. The only lucid intervals she had were in the
     presence of her inconstant husband. Whenever he came
     near her, her reason would return, and she would appear
     the same as before her illness. Flattered by what he
     deemed so strong an evidence of his influence over her,
     the Canadian felt a return of kindness toward her, and
     was finally induced to renew his attentions, which,
     being well received, they were soon united by a
     clergyman. Her reason appeared to be restored, and her
     improving health showed that her happiness was


Keating's guide was convinced that in both these cases the insanity
was feigned for the selfish purpose of working upon the feelings of
the unwilling party. Even apart from that, there is no trace of
evidence in either story that the feelings of the lovers rose above
sensual attachment, though the girl, being half white, might have been
capable of an approximation to a higher feeling. Indeed it is among
women that such approximations to a higher type of attachment must be
sought; for the uncivilized woman's basis of individual preference,
while apt to be utilitarian, is less sensual than the man's. She is
influenced by his manly qualities of courage, valor, aggressiveness,
because those are of value to her, while he chooses her for her
physical charms and has little or no appreciation of the higher
feminine qualities. Schoolcraft (V., 612) cites the following as an
Indian girl's ideal:

     "My love is tall and graceful as the young pine waving
     on the hill---and as swift in his course as the stately
     deer. His hair is flowing, and dark as the blackbird
     that floats through the air, and his eyes, like the
     eagle's, both piercing and bright. His heart, it is
     fearless and great--and his arm it is strong in the

Now it is true that Schoolcraft is a very unreliable witness in such
matters, as we shall see in the chapter on Indians. He had a way of
taking coarse Indian tales, dressing them up in a fine romantic garb
and presenting them as the aboriginal article. An Indian girl would
not be likely to compare a man's hair to a blackbird's feathers, and
she certainly would never dream of speaking of a "tall and graceful
pine waving on the hill." She might, however, compare his swiftness to
a deer's, and she might admire his sharp sight, his fearlessness, his
strong arm in a fight; and that is enough to illustrate what I have
just said--that her preference, though utilitarian, is less sensual
than the man's. It includes mental elements, and as moreover her
duties as mother teach her sympathy and devotion, it is not to be
wondered at that the earliest approximations to a higher type of love
are on the part of women.


As civilization progresses, the sexes become more and more
differentiated, thus affording individual preference an infinitely
greater scope. The stamp of sex is no longer confined to the pelvis
and the chest, but is impressed on every part of the body. The women's
feet become smaller and more daintily shaped than the men's, the limbs
more rounded and tapering and less muscular, the waist narrower, the
neck longer, the skin smoother, softer, and less hairy, the hands more
comely, with more slender fingers, the skeleton more delicate, the
stature lower, the steps shorter, the gait more graceful, the features
more delicately cut, the eyes more beautiful, the hair more luxuriant
and lustrous, the cheeks rounder and more susceptible to blushes, the
lips more daintily curved, the smile sweeter.

But the mind has sex as well as the body. It is still in process of
evolution, and too many individuals still approximate the type of the
virago or the effeminate man; but the time will come for all, as it
has already come for many, when a masculine trait in a woman's
character will make as disagreeable an impression as a blacksmith's
sinewy arm on the body of a society belle would make in a ball-room.
To call a woman pretty and sweet is to compliment her; to call a man
pretty and sweet would be to mock or insult him. The ancient Greeks
betrayed their barbarism in amorous matters in no way more
conspicuously than by their fondness for coy, effeminate boys, and
their admiration of masculine goddesses like Diana and Minerva.
Contrast this with the modern ideal of femininity, as summed up by

     Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
     Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
     But that our soft conditions and our hearts
     Should well agree with our external parts?


A woman's voice differs from a man's not only in pitch but in timbre;
its quality suggests the sex. There is great scope for variety, from
the lowest contralto to the highest soprano, as there is in man's from
the lowest bass to the highest tenor; a variety so great that voices
differ as much as faces and can be instantly recognized; but unless it
has the proper sexual quality a voice affects us disagreeably. A
coarse, harsh voice has marred many a girl's best marriage chances,
while, on the other hand, it may happen that "the ear loveth before
the eye." Now what is true of the male and female voice holds true of
the male and female mind in all its diverse aspects. We expect men to
be not only bigger, stronger, taller, hardier, more robust, but more
courageous and aggressive, more active, more creative, more sternly
just, than women; while coarseness, cruelty, selfishness, and
pugnacity, though not virtues in either sex, affect us much less
repulsively in men than in women, for the reason that the masculine
struggle for existence and competition in business foster selfishness,
and men have inherited pugnacious instincts from their fighting
ancestors, while women, as mothers, learned the lessons of sympathy
and self-sacrifice much sooner than men. The distinctively feminine
virtues are on the whole of a much higher order than the masculine,
which is the reason why they were not appreciated or fostered at so
early an epoch. Gentleness, modesty, domesticity, girlishness,
coyness, kindness, patience, tenderness, benevolence, sympathy,
self-sacrifice, demureness, emotionality, sensitiveness, are feminine
qualities, some of which, it is true, we expect also in gentlemen; but
their absence is not nearly so fatal to a man as it is to a woman. And
as men gradually approach women in patience, tenderness, sympathy,
self-sacrifice, and gentleness, it behooves women to keep their
distance by becoming still more refined and feminine, instead of
trying, as so many of them do, to approach the old masculine
standard--one of the strangest aberrations recorded in all social

Men and women fall in love with what is unlike, not with what is like
them. The refined physical and mental traits which I have described in
the preceding paragraphs constitute some of the secondary sexual
characters by which romantic love is inspired, while sensual love is
based on the primary sexual characters. Havelock Ellis (19) has well
defined a secondary sexual character as "one which, by more highly
differentiating the sexes, helps to make them more attractive to each
other," and so to promote marriages. And Professor Weissmann, famed
for his studies in heredity, opens up deep vistas of thought when he
declares (II., 91) that

     "all the numerous differences in form and function
     which characterize sex among the higher animals, all
     the so-called 'secondary sexual characters,' affecting
     even the highest mental qualities of mankind, are
     nothing but adaptations to bring about the union of the
     hereditary tendencies of two individuals."

Nature has been at work on this problem of differentiating the sexes
ever since it created the lowest animal organisms, and this fact,
which stands firm as a rock, gives us the consoling assurance that the
present abnormal attempts to make women masculine by giving them the
same education, employments, sports, ideals, and political aspirations
as men have, must end in ignominious failure. If the viragoes had
their way, men and women would in course of time revert to the
condition of the lowest savages, differing only in their organs of
generation. How infinitely nobler, higher, more refined and,
fascinating, is that ideal which wants women to differ from men by
every detail, bodily and mental; to differ from them in the higher
qualities of disposition, of character, of beauty, physical and
spiritual, which alone make possible the existence of romantic love as
distinguished from lust on one side and friendship on the other.


If these secondary sexual characters could be destroyed by the
extraordinary--one might almost say criminal--efforts of unsexed
termagants to make all women ape men and become like them, romantic
love, which was so slow in coming, would disappear again, leaving only
sensual appetite, which may be (selfishly) fastidious and intense, but
has no depth, duration, or altruistic nobility, and which, when
satiated, cares no more for the object for which it had temporarily
hungered. It is these secondary sexual characters, with their subtle
and endless variations, that have given individual preference such a
wide field of choice that every lover can find a girl after his heart
and taste. A savage is like a gardener who has only one kind of
flowers to choose between--all of one color too; whereas we, with our
diverse secondary characters, our various intermixtures of
nationalities, our endless shades of blonde and brunette, and
differences in manners and education can have our choice among the
lilies, roses, violets, pansies, daisies, and thousands of other
flowers--or the girls named after them. Samuel Baker says there are no
broken hearts in Africa. Why should there be when individuals are so
similar that if a man loses his girl he can easily find another just
like her in color, face, rotundity, and grossness? A civilized lover
would mourn the loss of his bride--though he were offered his choice
of the beauties of Baltimore--because it would be _absolutely
impossible to duplicate her_.

In that last line lies the explanation of one of the mysteries of
modern love--its stubborn fidelity to the beloved after the choice has
been made. But there is another mystery of individual preference that
calls for an explanation--its capriciousness, apparent or real, in
making a choice--that quality which has made the poets declare so
often that "love is blind." On this point much confusion of ideas

Matters are simplified if we first dispose of those numerous cases in
which the individual preference is only approximate. If a girl of
eighteen has the choice between a man of sixty and a youth of twenty,
she will, if she exercises a _personal_ preference, take the youth, as
a matter of course, though he may be far from her ideal. Such
preference is generic rather than individual. Again, in most cases of
first love, as I have remarked elsewhere (_R.L.P.B_., 139) "man falls
in love with woman, woman with man, not with a particular man or
woman." Young men and women inherit, from a long series of ancestors,
a disposition to love which at puberty reveals itself in vague
longings and dreams. The "bump of amativeness," as a phrenologist
might say, is like a powder magazine, ready to explode at a touch, and
it makes no great difference what kind of a match is applied. In later
love affairs the match is a matter of more importance.

Robert Burton threw light on the "capriciousness" and accidentally of
this kind of (apparent) amorous preference when he wrote that "it is
impossible, almost, for two young folks equal in years to live
together and not be in love;" and further he says, sagaciously:

     "Many a serving man, by reason of this opportunity and
     importunity, inveigles his master's daughter, many a
     gallant loves a dowdy, many a gentleman runs after his
     wife's maids; many ladies dote upon their men, as the
     queen in Aristo did upon the dwarf, many matches are so
     made in haste and they are compelled, as it were by
     necessity, so to love, which had they been free, come
     in company with others, seen that variety which many
     places afford, or compared them to a third, would never
     have looked upon one another."

Such passions are merely pent-up emotions seeking to escape one way or
another. They do not indicate real, intense preference, but at best an
approach to it; for they are not properly individualized, and, as
Schopenhauer pointed out, the differences in the intensity of
love-cases depend on their different degrees of individualization--an
_aperçu_ which this whole chapter confirms. Yet these mere
approximations to real preference embrace the vast majority of
so-called love-affairs. Genuine preference of the highest type finds
its explanation in special phases of sympathy and personal beauty
which will be discussed later on.

What is usually considered the greatest mystery of the amorous passion
is the disposition of a lover to "see Helen's beauty in a brow of
Egypt." "What can Jack have seen in Jill to become infatuated with
her, or she in him?" The trouble with those who so often ask this
question is that they fix the attention on the beloved instead of on
the lover, whose lack of taste explains everything. The error is of
long standing, as the following story related by the Persian poet
Saadi (of the thirteenth century) will show (346):


     "A king of Arabia was told that Mujnun, maddened by
     love, had turned his face toward the desert and assumed
     the manners of a brute. The king ordered him to be
     brought in his presence and he wept and said: 'Many of
     my friends reproach me for my love of her, namely
     Laila; alas! that they could one day see her, that my
     excuse might be manifest for me.' The king sent for her
     and beheld a person of tawny complexion, and feeble
     frame of body. She appeared to him in a contemptible
     light, inasmuch as the lowest menial in his harem, or
     seraglio, surpassed her in beauty and excelled her in
     elegance. Mujnun, in his sagacity, penetrated what was
     passing in the king's mind and said: 'It would behove
     you, O King, to contemplate the charms of Laila through
     the wicket of a Mujnun's eye, in order that the miracle
     of such a spectacle might be illustrated to you.'"

This story was referred to by several critics of my first book as
refuting my theory regarding the modernity of true love. They seemed
to think, with the Persian poet, that there must be something
particularly wonderful and elevated in the feelings of a lover who is
indifferent to the usual charms of femininity and prefers ugliness.
This, indeed, is the prevalent sentiment on the subject, though the
more I think of it, the more absurd and topsy turvy it seems to me. Do
we commend an Eskimo for preferring the flavor of rancid fish oil to
the delicate bouquet of the finest French wine? Does it evince a
particularly exalted artistic sense to prefer a hideous daub to a
Titian or Raphael? Does it betoken a laudable and elevated taste in
music to prefer a vulgar tune to one that has the charms of a romantic
or classical work of acknowledged beauty? Why, then, should we
specially extol Mujnun for admiring a woman who was devoid of all
feminine charms? The confusion probably arises from fancying that she
must have had mental charms to offset her ugliness, but nothing
whatever is said about such a notion, which, in fact, would have been
utterly foreign to the Oriental, purely sensual, way of regarding

Fix the attention on the man in the story instead of on the woman and
the mystery vanishes. Mujnun becomes infatuated with an ugly woman
simply because he has no taste, no sense of beauty. There are millions
of such men the world over, just as there are millions who cannot
appreciate choice wines, good music, and fine pictures. Everywhere the
majority of men prefer vulgar tunes, glaring chromos, and coarse
women--luckily for the women, because most of them are coarse, too.
"Birds of a feather flock together"--there you have the philosophy of
preference so far as such love-affairs are concerned. How often do we
see a bright, lovely girl, with sweet voice and refined manners,
neglected by men who crowd around other women of their own rude and
vulgar caste! Most men still are savages so far as the ability to
appreciate the higher secondary sexual qualities in women is
concerned. But the exceptions are growing more numerous. Among savages
there are no exceptions. Romantic love does not exist among them, both
because the women have not the secondary sexual qualities, and
because, even if they had them, the men would not appreciate them or
be guided by them in their choice of mates.


     Whenever she speaks, my ravished ear
     No other voice but hers can hear,
     No other wit but hers approve:
     Tell me, my heart, if this be love?

Every lover of nature must have noticed how the sun monopolizes the
attention of flowers and leaves. Twist and turn them whichever way you
please, on returning afterward you will find them all facing the
beloved sun again with their bright corollas and glossy surface.
Romantic love exacts a similar monopoly of its devotees. Be their
feelings as various, their thoughts as numerous, as the flowers in a
garden, the leaves in a forest, they will always be turned toward the
beloved one.


A man may have several intimate friends, and a mother may dote on a
dozen or more children with equal affection; but romantic love is a
monopolist, absolutely exclusive of all participation and rivalry. A
genuine Romeo wants Juliet, the whole of Juliet, and nothing but
Juliet. She monopolizes his thoughts by day, his dreams at night; her
image blends with everything he sees, her voice with everything he
hears. His imagination is a lens which gathers together all the light
and heat of a giant world and focuses them on one brunette or blonde.
He is a miser, who begrudges every smile, every look she bestows on
others, and if he had his own way he would sail with her to-day to a
desert island and change their names to Mr. and Mrs. Robinson Crusoe.
This is not fanciful hyperbole, but a plain statement in prose of a
psychological truth. The poets did not exaggerate when they penned
such sentiments as these:

     She was his life,
     The ocean to the river of his thoughts,
     Which terminated all.

     Thou art my life, my love, my heart,
       The very eyes of me,
     And hast command of every part,
       To live and die for thee.

     Give me but what that ribband bound,
     Take all the rest the world goes round.

     But I am tied to very thee
       By every thought I have;
     Thy face I only care to see
       Thy heart I only crave.

     I see her in the dewy flowers,
       Sae lovely sweet and fair:
     I hear her voice in ilka bird,
       Wi' music charm the air:
     There's not a bonnie flower that springs
       By fountain, shaw, or green;
     There's not a bonny bird that sings,
       But minds me o' my Jean.

     For nothing this wide universe I call
     Save thou, my rose: in it thou art my all.

     Like Alexander I will reign,
       And I will reign alone,
     My thoughts shall evermore disdain
       A rival on my throne.
                          --_James Graham_.

     Love, well thou know'st no partnerships allows.
     Cupid averse, rejects divided vows.

     O that the desert were my dwelling-place,
       With one fair spirit for my minister,
     That I might all forget the human race
       And, hating no one, love but only her.


The imperative desire for an absolute monopoly of one chosen girl,
body and soul--_and one only_--is an essential, invariable ingredient
of romantic love. Sensual love, on the contrary, aims rather at a
monopoly of all attractive women--or at least as many as possible.
Sensual love is not an exclusive passion for one; it is a fickle
feeling which, like a giddy butterfly, flits from flower to flower,
forgetting the fragrance of the lily it left a moment ago in the sweet
honey of the clover it enjoys at this moment. The Persian poet Sadi,
says (_Bustan_, 12), "Choose a fresh wife every spring or New Year's
Day; for the almanack of last year is good for nothing." Anacreon
interprets Greek love for us when he sings:

     "Can'st count the leaves in a forest, the waves in the sea?
     Then tell me how oft I have loved. Twenty girls in Athens,
     and fifteen more besides; add to these whole bevies in
     Corinth, and from Lesbos to Ionia, from Caria and from
     Rhodos, two thousand sweethearts more.... Two thousand did I
     say? That includes not those from Syros, from Kanobus, from
     Creta's cities, where Eros rules alone, nor those from
     Gadeira, from Bactria, from India--girls for whom I burn."

Lucian vies with Anacreon when he makes Theomestus (_Dial. Amor._)
exclaim: "Sooner can'st thou number the waves of the sea and the
snowflakes falling from the sky than my loves. One succeeds another,
and the new one comes on before the old is off." We call such a thing
libertinism, not love. The Greeks had not the name of Don Juan, yet
Don Juan was their ideal both for men and for the gods they made in
the image of man. Homer makes the king of gods tell his own spouse
(who listens without offence) of his diverse love-affairs (_Iliad_,
xiv., 317-327). Thirteen centuries after Homer the Greek poet Nonnus
gives ([Greek: Dionusiaka], vii.) a catalogue of twelve of Zeus's
amours; and we know from other sources (_e.g., Hygin, fab._, 155) that
these accounts are far from exhaustive. A complete list would match
that yard-long document made for Don Juan by Leporello in Mozart's
opera. A French writer has aptly called Jupiter the "Olympian Don
Juan;" yet Apollo and most of the other gods might lay claim to the
same title, for they are represented as equally amorous, sensual, and
fickle; seeing no more wrong in deserting a woman they have made love
to, than a bee sees in leaving a flower whose honey it has stolen.

Temporarily, of course, both men and gods focus their interest on one
woman--maybe quite ardently--and fiercely resent interference, as an
angry bee is apt to sting when kept from the flower it has
accidentally chosen; but that is a different thing from the monopolism
of true love.


The romantic lover's dream is to marry one particular woman and her
alone; the sensual lover's dream embraces several women, or many. The
unromantic ideal of the ancient Hindoo is romantically illustrated in
a story told in the _Hitopadesa_ of a Brahman named Wedasarman. One
evening someone made him a present of a dish of barley-meal. He
carried it to the market hall and lay down in a corner near where a
potter had stored his wares. Before going to sleep, the Brahman
indulged in these pleasant reveries:

     "If I sell this dish of meal I shall probably get ten
     farthings for it. For that I can buy some of these
     pots, which I can sell again at a profit; thus my money
     will increase. Then I shall begin to trade in
     betel-nuts, dress-goods and other things, and thus I
     may bring my wealth up to a hundred thousand. With that
     I shall be able to marry _four wives_, and to the
     youngest and prettiest of them I shall give my
     tenderest love. How the others will be tortured by
     jealousy! But just let them dare to quarrel. They shall
     know my wrath and feel my club!"

With these words he laid about him with his club, and of course broke
his own dish besides many of the potter's wares. The potter hearing
the crash, ran to see what was the matter, and the Brahman was
ignominiously thrown out of the hall.

The polygamous imagination of the Hindoos runs riot in many of their
stories. To give another instance: _The Kathakoça, or Treasury of
Stories_ (translated by C.H. Tawney, 34), includes an account of the
adventures of King Kánchanapura, who had five hundred wives; and of
Sanatkumara who beheld eight daughters of Mánavega and married them.
Shortly afterward he married a beautiful lady and her sister. Then he
conquered Vajravega and married one hundred maidens.

Hindoo books assure us that women, unless restrained, are no better
than men. We read in the same _Hitopadesa_ that they are like
cows--always searching for new herbs in the meadows to graze on. In
polyandrous communities the women make good use of their
opportunities. Dalton, in his book on the wild tribes of Bengal, tells
this quaint story (36):

     "A very pretty Dophla girl once came into the station
     of Luckimpur, threw herself at my feet and in most
     poetical language asked me to give her protection. She
     was the daughter of a chief and was sought in marriage
     and promised to a peer of her father who had many other
     wives. She would not submit to be one of many, and
     besides she loved and she eloped with her beloved. This
     was interesting and romantic. She was at the time in a
     very coarse travelling dress, but assured of protection
     she took fresh apparel and ornament from her basket and
     proceeded to array herself, and very pretty she looked
     as she combed and plaited her long hair and completed
     her toilette. In the meantime I had sent for the
     'beloved,' who had kept in the background, and alas!
     how the romance was dispelled when a _dual_ appeared!
     _She had eloped with two men!_"

Every reader will laugh at this denouement, and that laugh is eloquent
proof that in saying there can be no real love without absolute
monopolism of one heart by another I simply formulated and emphasized
a truth which we all feel instinctively. Dalton's tale also brings out
very clearly the world-wide difference between a romantic love-story
and a story of romantic love.

Turning from the Old World to the New we find stories illustrating the
same amusing disregard of amorous monopolism. Rink, in his book of
Eskimo tales and traditions, cites a song which voices the reveries of
a Greenland bachelor:

     "I am going to leave the country--in a large ship--for
     that sweet little woman. I'll try to get some beads--of
     those that look like boiled ones. Then when I've gone
     abroad--I shall return again. My nasty little
     relatives--I'll call them all to me--and give them a
     good thrashing--with a big rope's end. Then I'll go to
     marry--_taking two at once_. That darling little
     creature--shall only wear clothes of the spotted
     seal-skins, and the other little pet shall have clothes
     of the young hooded seals."

Powers (227) tells a tragic tale of the California Indians, which in
some respects reminds one of the man who jumped into a bramble-bush
and scratched out both his eyes.

     "There was once a man who loved two women and wished to
     marry them. Now these two women were magpies, but they
     loved him not, and laughed his wooing to scorn. Then he
     fell into a rage and cursed these two women, and went
     far away to the North. There he set the world on fire,
     then made for himself a tule boat, wherein he escaped
     to sea, and was never seen more."

Belden, who spent twelve years among the Sioux and other Indians,
writes (302):

     "I once knew a young man who had about a dozen horses
     he had captured at different times from the enemy, and
     who fell desperately in love with a girl of nineteen.
     _She loved him in return_, but said she could not bear
     to leave her tribe, and go to a Santee village, unless
     her two sisters, aged respectively fifteen and
     seventeen, went with her. Determined to have his
     sweetheart, the next time the warrior visited the
     Yankton village he took several ponies with him, and
     bought all three of the girls from their parents,
     giving five ponies for them."


Heriot, during his sojourn among Canadian Indians, became convinced
from what he saw that love does not admit of divided affections, and
can hardly coexist with polygamy (324). Schoolcraft notes the "curious
fact" concerning the Indian that after a war "one of the first things
he thought of as a proper reward for his bravery was to take another
wife." In the chapter entitled "Honorable Polygamy" we saw how, in
polygamous communities the world over, monogamy was despised as the
"poor man's marriage," and was practised, not from choice, but from
necessity. Every man who was able to do so bought or stole several
women, and joined the honorable guild of polygamists. Such a custom,
enforced by a strong public opinion, created a sentiment which greatly
retarded the development of monopolism in sexual love. A young Indian
might dream of marrying a certain girl, not, however, with a view to
giving her his whole heart, but only as a beginning. The woman, it is
true, was expected to give herself to one husband, but he seldom
hesitated to lend her to a friend as an act of hospitality, and in
many cases, would hire her out to a stranger in return for gifts.

In not a few communities of Asia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Australia,
Africa, and America polyandry prevailed; that is, the woman was
expected to bestow her caresses in turn on two or more men, to the
destruction of the desire for exclusive possession which is an
imperative trait of love. Rowney describes (154) what we might call
syndicate marriage which has prevailed among the Meeris of India:

     "All the girls have their prices, the largest price for the
     best-looking girl varying from twenty to thirty pigs, and,
     if one man cannot give so many, he has no objection to take
     partners to make up the number."

According to Julius Caesar, it was customary among the ancient Britons
for brothers, and sometimes for father and sons, to have their wives
in common, and Tacitus found evidence of a similar custom among the
ancient Germans; while in some parts of Media it was the ambition of
the women to have two or more husbands, and Strabo relates that those
who succeeded looked down with pride on their less fortunate sisters.
When the Spaniards first arrived at Lanzarote, in South America, they
found the women married to several husbands, who lived with their
common spouse in turn each a month. The Tibetans, according to Samuel
Turner, look on marriage as a disagreeable duty which the members of a
family must try to alleviate by sharing its burdens. The Nair woman in
India may have up to ten or twelve husbands, with each of whom she
lives ten days at a time. Among some Himalayan tribes, when the oldest
brother marries, he generally shares his wife with his younger


Of the Port Lincoln Tribe in Australia, Schürmann says (223) that the
brothers practically have their wives in common.

     "A peculiar nomenclature has arisen from these singular
     connections; a woman honors the brothers of the man to
     whom she is married by the indiscriminate name of
     husbands; but the men make a distinction, calling their
     own individual spouses yungaras, and those to whom they
     have a secondary claim, by right of brotherhood,

R.H. Codrington, a scientifically educated missionary who had
twenty-four years' experience on the islands of the Pacific, wrote a
valuable book on the Melanesians in which occur the following luminous

     "All women who may become wives in marriage, and are
     not yet appropriated, are to a certain extent looked
     upon by those who may be their husbands as open to a
     more or less legitimate intercourse. In fact,
     appropriation of particular women to their own
     husbands, though established by every sanction of
     native custom, has by no means so strong a hold in
     native society, nor in all probability anything like so
     deep a foundation in the history of the native people,
     as the severance of either sex by divisions which most
     strictly limit the intercourse of men and women to
     those of the section or sections to which they
     themselves do not belong. Two proofs or
     exemplifications of this are conspicuous. (1) There is
     probably no place in which the common opinion of
     Melanesians approves the intercourse of the unmarried
     youths and girls as a thing good in itself, though it
     allows it as a thing to be expected and excused; but
     intercourse within the limit which restrains from
     marriage, where two members of the same division are
     concerned, is a crime, is incest.... (2) The feeling,
     on the other hand, that the intercourse of the sexes
     was natural where the man and woman belonged to
     different divisions, was shown by that feature of
     native hospitality which provided a guest with a
     temporary wife." Though now denied in some places,
     "there can be no doubt that it was common everywhere."

Nor can there be any doubt that what Codrington here says of the
Melanesians applies also to Polynesians, Australians, and to
uncivilized peoples in general. It shows that even where monogamy
prevails--as it does quite extensively among the lower races[12]--we
must not look for monopolism as a matter of course. The two are very
far from being identical. Primitive marriage is not a matter of
sentiment but of utility and sensual greed. Monogamy, in its lower
phases, does not exclude promiscuous intercourse before marriage and
(with the husband's permission) after marriage. A man appropriates a
particular woman, not because he is solicitous for a monopoly of her
chaste affections, but because he needs a drudge to cook and toil for
him. Primitive marriage, in short, has little in common with civilized
marriage except the name--an important fact the disregard of which has
led to no end of confusion in anthropological and sociological


At a somewhat higher stage, marriage becomes primarily an institution
for raising soldiers for the state or sons to perform ancestor
worship. This is still very far from the modern ideal which makes
marriage a lasting union of two loving souls, children or no children.
Particularly instructive, from our point of view, is the custom of
trial marriage, which has prevailed among many peoples differing
otherwise as widely as ancient Egyptians and modern Borneans.[14] A
modern lover would loathe the idea of such a trial marriage, because
he feels sure that his love will be eternal and unalterable. He may be
mistaken, but that at any rate is his ideal: it includes lasting
monopolism. If a modern sweetheart offered her lover a temporary
marriage, he would either firmly and anxiously decline it, fearing
that she might take advantage of the contract and leave him at the end
of the year; or, what is much more probable, his love, if genuine,
would die a sudden death, because no respectable girl could make such
an offer, and genuine love cannot exist without respect for the
beloved, whatever may be said to the contrary by those who know not
the difference between sensual and sentimental love.


While I am convinced that all these things are as stated, I do not
wish to deny that monopolism of a violent kind may and does occur in
love which is merely sensual. In fact, I have expressly classed
monopolism among those seven ingredients of love which occur in its
sensual as well as its sentimental phases. For a correct diagnosis of
love it is indeed of great importance to bear this in mind, as we
might otherwise be led astray by specious passages, especially in
Greek and Roman literature, in which sensual love sometimes reaches a
degree of subtility, delicacy, and refinement, which approximate it to
sentimental love, though a critical analysis always reveals the
difference. The two best instances I know of occur in Tibullus and
Terence. Tibullus, in one of his finest poems (IV., 13), expresses the
monopolistic wish that his favorite might seem beautiful to him only,
displeasing all others, for then he would be safe from all rivalry;
then he might live happy in forest solitudes, and she alone would be
to him a multitude:

     Atque utinam posses uni mihi bella videri;
     Displiceas aliis: sic ego tutus ero.

     Sic ego secretis possum bene vivere silvis
       Qua nulla humano sit via trita pede.
     Tu mihi curarum requies, tu nocte vel atra
       Lumen, et in solis tu mihi turba locis.

Unfortunately, the opening line of this poem:

     Nulla tuum nobis subducet femina lectum,

and what is known otherwise of the dissolute character of the poet and
of all the women to whom he addressed his verses, make it only too
obvious that there is here no question of purity, of respect, of
adoration, of any of the qualities which distinguish supersensual love
from lust.

More interesting still is a passage in the _Eunuchus_ of Terence (I.,
2) which has doubtless misled many careless readers into accepting it
as evidence of genuine romantic love, existing two thousand years ago:

     "What more do I wish?" asks Phaedria of his girl Thais:
     "That while at the soldier's side you are not his, that
     you love me day and night, desire me, dream of me,
     expect me, think of me, hope for me, take delight in
     me, finally, be my soul as I am yours."

Here, too, there is no trace of supersensual, self-sacrificing
affection (the only sure test of love); but it might be argued that
the monopolism, at any rate, is absolute. But when we read the whole
play, even that is seen to be mere verbiage and
affectation--sentimentality,[15] not sentiment. The girl in question
is a common harlot "never satisfied with one lover," as Parmeno tells
her, and she answers: "Quite true, but do not bother me"--and her
Phaedria, though he talks monopolism, does not _feel_ it, for in the
first act she easily persuades him to retire to the country for a few
days, while she offers herself to a soldier. And again, at the end of
the play, when he seems at last to have ousted his military rival, the
latter's parasite Gnatho persuades him, without the slightest
difficulty, to continue sharing the girl with the soldier, because the
latter is old and harmless, but has plenty of money, while Phaedria is

Thus a passage which at first sight seemed sentimental and romantic,
resolves itself into flabby sensualism, with no more moral fibre than
the "love" of the typical Turk, as revealed, for instance, in a love
song, communicated by Eugene Schuyler (I., 135):

     "Nightingale! I am sad! As passionately as thou lovest the
     rose, so loudly sing that my loved one awake. Let me die in
     the embrace of my dear one, for I envy no one. I know that
     thou hast many lovers; but what affair of mine is that?"

One of the most characteristic literary curiosities relating to
monopolism that I have found occurs in the Hindoo drama, _Malavika and
Agnimitra_ (Act V.). While intended very seriously, to us it reads for
all the world like a polygamous parody by Artemus Ward of Byron's
lines just cited ("She was his life, The ocean to the river of his
thoughts, Which terminated all"). An Indian queen having generously
bestowed on her husband a rival to be his second wife, Kausiki, a
Buddhist nun, commends her action in these words:

     "I am not surprised at your magnanimity. If wives are kind
     and devoted to their husbands they even serve them by
     bringing them new wives, like the streams which become
     channels for conveying the water of the rivers to the

Monopolism has a watch-dog, a savage Cerberus, whose duty it is to
ward off intruders. He goes by the name of Jealousy, and claims our
attention next.


  For love, thou know'st, is full of jealousy.

Jealousy may exist apart from sexual love, but there can be no such
love without jealousy, potential at any rate, for in the absence of
provocation it need never manifest itself. Of all the ingredients of
love it is the most savage and selfish, as commonly witnessed, and we
should therefore expect it to be present at all stages of this
passion, including the lowest. Is this the case? The answer depends
entirely upon what we mean by jealousy. Giraud-Teulon and Le Bon have
held--as did Rousseau long before them--that this passion is unknown
among almost all uncivilized peoples, whereas the latest writer on the
subject, Westermarck, tries to prove (117) that "jealousy is
universally prevalent in the human race at the present day" and that
"it is impossible to believe that there ever was a time when man was
devoid of that powerful feeling." It seems strange that doctors should
disagree so radically on what seems so simple a question; but we shall
see that the question is far from being simple, and that the dispute
arose from that old source of confusion, the use of one word for
several entirely different things.


It is among fishes, in the scale of animal life, that jealousy first
makes its appearance, according to Romanes. But in animals "jealousy,"
be it that of a fish or a stag, is little more than a transient rage
at a rival who comes in presence of the female he himself covets or
has appropriated. This murderous wrath at a rival is a feeling which,
as a matter of course a human savage may share with a wolf or an
alligator; and in its ferocious indulgence primitive man places
himself on a level with brutes--nay, below them, for in the struggle
he often kills the female, which an animal never does. This wrath is
not jealousy as we know it; it lacks a number of essential moral,
intellectual, imaginative elements as we shall presently see; some of
these are found in the amorous relations of birds, but not of savages,
who are now under discussion. If it is true that, as some authorities
believe, there was a time when human beings had, like animals, regular
and limited annual mating periods, this rage at rivals must have often
assumed the most ferocious aspect, to be followed, as with animals, by
long periods of indifference.[16]


It is obvious, however, that since the human infant needs parental
care much longer than young animals need it, natural selection must
have favored the survival of the offspring of couples who did not
separate after a mating period but remained together some years. This
tendency would be further favored by the warrior's desire to have a
private drudge or conjugal slave. Having stolen or bought such a
"wife" and protected her against wild beasts and men, he would come to
feel a sense of _ownership_ in her--as in his private weapons. Should
anyone steal his weapons, or, at a higher stage, his cattle or other
property, he would be animated by a _fierce desire for revenge_; and
the same would be the case if any man stole his wife--or her favors.
This savage desire for revenge is the second phase of "jealousy," when
women are guarded like other property, encroachment on which impels
the owner to angry retaliation either on the thief or on the wife who
has become his accomplice. Even among the lowest races, such as the
Fuegians and Australians, great precautions are taken to guard women
from "robbers." From the nature of the case, women are more difficult
to guard than any other kind of "movable" property, as they are apt to
move of their own accord. Being often married against their will, to
men several times their age, they are only too apt to make common
cause with the gallant. Powers relates that among the California
Indians, a woman was severely punished or even killed by her husband
if seen in company with another man in the woods; and an Australian
takes it for granted, says Curr, "that his wife has been unfaithful to
him whenever there has been an opportunity for criminality." The
poacher may be simply flogged or fined, but he is apt to be mutilated
or killed. The "injured husband" reserves the right to intrigue with
as many women as he pleases, but his wife, being his absolute
property, has no rights of her own, and if she follows his bad example
he mutilates or kills her too.


Strangling, stoning, burning, impaling, flaying alive, tearing limb
from limb, throwing from a tower, burying alive, disemboweling,
enslaving, drowning, mutilating, are some of the punishments inflicted
by savages and barbarians in all parts of the world on adulterous men
or women. Specifications would be superfluous. Let one case stand for
a hundred. Maximilian Prinz zu Wied relates (I., 531, 572), that the
Indians (Blackfeet),

     "severely punished infidelity on the part of their
     wives by cutting off their noses. At Fort Mackenzie we
     saw a number of women defaced in this hideous manner.
     In about a dozen tents we saw at least half a dozen
     females thus disfigured."

Must we not look upon the state of mind which leads to such terrible
actions as genuine jealousy? Is there any difference between it and
the feeling we ourselves know under that name? There is--a world-wide
difference. Take Othello, who though a Moor, acts and feels more like
an Englishman. The desire for revenge animates him too: "I'll tear her
to pieces," he exclaimed when Iago slanders Desdemona--"will chop her
into messes," and as for Cassio,

     Oh, that the slave had forty thousand lives!
     One is too poor, too weak for my revenge.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Arise, black vengeance from the hollow hell.


But this eagerness for revenge is only one phase of his passion.
Though it leads him, in a frenzy of despair, to smother his wife, it
is yet, even in his violent soul, subordinate to those feelings of
_wounded honor and outraged affection_ which constitute the essence of
true jealousy. When he supposes himself betrayed by his wife and his
friend he clutches, as Ulrici remarks (I., 404), with the blind
despair of a shipwrecked man to his sole remaining property--_honor_:

     "His honor, as he thinks, demands the sacrifice of the
     lives of Desdemona and Cassio. The idea of honor in
     those days, especially in Italy, inevitably required
     the death of the faithless wife as well as that of the
     adulterer. Othello therefore regards it as his duty to
     comply with this requirement, and, accordingly it is no
     lie when he calls himself 'an honorable murderer,'
     doing 'naught in hate, but all in honor,'.... Common
     thirst for revenge would have thought only of
     increasing the sufferings of its victim, of adding to
     its own satisfaction. But how touching, on the other
     hand, is Othello's appeal to Desdemona to pray and to
     confess her sins to Heaven, that he may not kill her
     soul with her body! Here, at the moment of the most
     intense excitement, in the desperate mood of a
     murderer, his love still breaks forth, and we again see
     the indestructible nobility of his soul."

Schlegel erred, therefore, when he maintained that Othello's jealousy
was of the sensual, Oriental sort. So far as it led to the murder, it
was; but Shakspere gave it touches which allied it to the true
jealousy of the heart of which Schlegel himself has aptly said that it
is "compatible with the tenderest feeling and adoration of the beloved
object." Of such tender feeling and adoration there is not a trace in
the passion of the Indian who bites off his wife's nose or lower lip
to disfigure her, or who ruthlessly slays her for doing once what he
does at will. Such expressions as "outraged affection," or "alienated
affection," do not apply to him, as there is no affection in the case
at all; no more than in that of the old Persian or Turk who sews up
one of his hundred wives in a sack and throws her into the river
because she was starving and would eat of the fruits of the tree of
knowledge. This Oriental jealousy is often a "dog-in-the-manger"
feeling. The Iroquois were the most intelligent of North American
Indians, yet in cases of adultery they punished the woman solely, "who
was supposed to be the only offender" (Morgan, 331). Affection is out
of the question in such cases, anger at a slave's disobedience, and
vengeance, being the predominant feelings. In countries where woman is
degraded and enslaved, as Verplanck remarks (III., 61),

     "the jealous revenge of the master husband, for real or
     imagined evil, is but the angry chastisement of an
     offending slave, not the _terrible sacrifice of his own
     happiness involved in the victim's punishment._ When
     woman is a slave, a property, a thing, all that
     jealousy may prompt is done, to use Othello's own
     distinction, 'in hate' and 'not in love.'"

Another equally vital distinction between the jealousy of savagery and
civilization is indicated in these lines from _Othello_:

                 I had rather be a toad,
     And live upon the vapor of a dungeon,
     Than keep a corner in the thing I love
     For other's uses.

And again:

     I had been happy, if the general camp,
     Pioners and all, had tasted her sweet body,
     So I had nothing known.


It is the knowledge, or suspicion, that he has not a monopoly of his
wife that tortures Shakspere's Othello, and constitutes the essence of
his jealousy, whereas a savage is his exact antipode in that respect;
he cares not a straw if the whole camp shares the embraces of his
wife--_provided he knows it and is rewarded for it_. Wounded pride,
violated chastity, and broken conjugal vows--pangs which goad us into
jealousy--are considerations unknown to him. In other words, his
"jealousy" is not a solicitude for marital honor, for wifely purity
and affection, but simply a question of lending his property and being
paid for it. Thus, in the case of the Blackfeet Indians referred to a
moment ago, the author declares that while they mutilated erring wives
by cutting off their noses (the Comanches and other tribes, down to
the Brazilian Botocudos, did the same thing), they eagerly offered
their wives and daughters in exchange for a bottle of whiskey. In this
respect, too, this case is typical. Sutherland found (I., 184) that in
regard to twenty-one tribes of Indians out of thirty-eight there was
express record of unlimited intercourse before marriage and the
loaning or exchanging of wives. In seventeen he could not get express
information, and in only four was it stated that a chaste girl was
more esteemed than an unchaste one. In the chapter on Indifference to
Chastity I cited testimony showing that in Australia, the Pacific
Islands, and among aborigines in general, chastity is not valued as a
virtue. There are plenty of tribes that attempt to enforce it, but for
commercial, sensual, or at best, genealogical reasons, not from a
regard for personal purity; so that among all these lower races
jealousy in our sense of the word is out of the question.

Care must be taken not to be imposed on by deceptive facts and
inaccurate testimony. Thus Westermarck says (119) that

     "in the Pelew Islands it is forbidden even to speak
     about another man's wife or mention her name. In short,
     the South Sea Islanders are, as Mr. Macdonald remarks,
     generally jealous of the chastity of their wives."

Nothing could be more misleading than these two sentences. The men are
_not_ jealous of the women's _chastity_, for they unhesitatingly lend
them to other men; they are "jealous" of them simply as they are of
their other movable property. As for the Pelew Islanders in
particular, what Westermarck cites from Ymer is quite true; it is also
true that if a man beats or insults a woman he must pay a fine or
suffer the death penalty; and that if he approaches a place where
women are bathing he must put them on their guard by shouting. But all
these things are mere whimsicalities of barbarian custom, for the
Pelew Islanders are notoriously unchaste even for Polynesians. They
have no real family life; they have club-houses in which men consort
promiscuously with women; and no moral restraint of any sort is put
upon boys and girls, nor have they any idea of modesty or decency.[17]
(Ploss, II., 416; Kotzebue, III., 215.)

A century ago Alexander Mackenzie wrote (66) regarding the Knistenaux
or Cree Indians of the Northwest:

     "It does not appear ... that chastity is considered by
     them as a virtue; or that fidelity is believed to be
     essential to the happiness of wedded life; though it
     sometimes happens that the infidelity of a wife is
     punished by the husband with the loss of her hair,
     nose, and perhaps life; such severity proceeds from its
     having been practised without his permission; for a
     temporary exchange of wives is not uncommon; and the
     offer of their persons is considered as a necessary
     part of the hospitality due to strangers."

Of the Natchez Indians Charlevoix wrote (267): "There is no such thing
as jealousy in these marriages; on the contrary the Natchez, without
any ceremony, lend one another their wives." Concerning the Eskimos we
read in Bancroft:

     "They have no idea of morality, and the marriage
     relation sits so loosely as to hardly excite jealousy
     in its abuse. Female chastity is held a thing of value
     only as men hold property in it." "A stranger is always
     provided with a female companion for the night, and
     during the husband's absence he gets another man to
     take his place" (I., 81, 80).

The evidence collected by him also shows that the Thlinkeets and
Aleuts freely exchanged or lent their wives. Of the coast Indians of
Southern Alaska and British Columbia, A.P. Niblack says (_Smithson.
Rep_., 1888, 347):

     "Jealousy being unknown amongst the Indians, and
     sanctioned prostitution a common evil, the woman who
     can earn the greatest number of blankets or the largest
     sum of money wins the admiration of others for herself
     and a high position for her husband by her wealth."

In the same government reports (1886, Pt. I.) C. Willoughby writes of
the Quinault Agency Washington Indians: "In their domestic relations
chastity seems to be almost unknown." Of the Chippewayans Hearne
relates (129) that it is a very common custom among the men to
exchange a night's lodging with each other's wives. But this is so far
from being considered as an act which is criminal, that it is esteemed
by them as one of the strongest ties of friendship between two
families.[18] The Hurons and many other tribes from north to south had
licentious festivals at which promiscuous intercourse prevailed
betraying the absence of jealousy. Of the Tupis of Brazil Southey says
(I., 241): "The wives who found themselves neglected, consoled
themselves by initiating the boys in debauchery. The husbands seem to
have known nothing of jealousy." The ancient inhabitants of Venezuela
lived in houses big enough to hold one hundred and sixty persons, and
Herrera says of them:

     "They observed no law or rule in matrimony, but took as
     many wives as they would, and they as many husbands,
     quitting one another at pleasure, without reckoning any
     harm done on either part. There was no such thing as
     jealousy among them, all living as best pleased them,
     without taking offence at one another."

The most painstaking research has failed to reveal to me a single
Indian tribe in North or South America that showed a capacity for real
jealousy, that is, anguish based on a sense of violated wifely
chastity and alienated affection. The actions represented as due to
jealousy are always inspired by the desire for revenge, never by the
anguish of disappointed affection; they are done in hate, not in love.
A chief who kills or mutilates one of his ten wives for consorting
with another man without his consent, acts no more from jealousy,
properly so called, than does a father who shoots the seducer of his
daughter, or a Western mob that lynches a horse-thief. Among the
Australian aborigines killing an intriguing wife is an every-day
occurrence, though "chastity as a virtue is absolutely unknown amongst
all the tribes of which there are records," as one of the best
informed authorities, J.D. Wood, tells us (403). Detailed evidence
that the same is true of the aborigines of all the continents will be
given in later chapters. The natives usually share their females both
before and after marriage; monopoly of body and soul--of which true
jealousy is the guardian--is a conception beyond their moral horizon.
A few more illustrations may be added.

Burton (_T.T.G.L._, II., 27) cites a writer who says that the natives
of São Paulo had a habit of changing wives for a time, "alleging, in
case of reproof, that they are not able to eat always of the same
dish." Holub testifies (II., 83) that in South Africa jealousy "rarely
shows itself very prominently;" and he uses the word in the widest
sense. The fierce Masai lend their wives to guests. The Mpongwe of the
Gaboon River send out their wives--with a club if necessary--to earn
the wages of shame (Campiègne, 192). In Madagascar Ellis (137) found
sensuality gross and universal, though concealed. Unchastity in either
sex was not regarded as a vice, and on the birth of the king's
daughter "the whole capital was given up to promiscuous debauchery."
According to Mrs. French Sheldon (_Anth. Inst._, XXL, 360), all along
the east coast of Africa no shame attaches to unchastity before
marriage. It is needless to add that in all such cases punishment of a
wife cannot be prompted by real jealousy for her "chastity." It is
always a question of proprietorship. Cameron relates _(Across Africa_,
II., Chap. IV.) that in Urua the chief boasted that he exercised a
right to any woman who might please his fancy, when on his journeys
about the country.

     "Morals are very lax throughout the country, and wives
     are not thought badly of for being unfaithful; the
     worst they may expect being severe chastisement from
     the injured husband. But he never uses excessive
     violence for fear of injuring a valuable piece of
     household furniture."

When Du Chaillu travelled through Ashango Land King Quenqueza rose to
receive him.

     "With the figurative politeness of a negro chief, he
     assured me that his town, his forests, his slaves, his
     wives, were mine (he was quite sincere with regard to
     the last") (19).

Asia affords many instances of the absence of jealousy. Marco Polo
already noted that in Thibet, when travellers arrived at a place, it
was customary to distribute them in the houses, making them temporary
masters of all they contained, including the women, while their
husbands meanwhile lodged elsewhere. In Kamtschatka it was considered
a great insult if a guest refused a woman thus offered him. Most
astounding of all is what G.E. Robertson relates of the Kaffirs of
Hindu-Kush (553):

     "When a woman is discovered in an intrigue, a great
     outcry is made, and the neighbors rush to the scene
     with much laughter. A goat is sent for on the spot for
     a peace-making feast between the gallant and the
     husband. Of course the neighbors also partake of the
     feast; _the husband and wife both look very happy_, and
     so does every one else except the lover, who has to pay
     for the goat, and in addition will have to pay six cows
     later on."

Here we see a great value attached apparently to conjugal fidelity,
but in reality an utter and ludicrous indifference to it.

Asia is also the chief home of polyandry, though, as we saw in the
preceding chapter, this custom has prevailed on other continents too.
The cases there cited to show the absence of monopoly also prove the
absence of jealousy. The effect of polyandry is thus referred to by
Colonel King (23):

     "A Toda woman often has three or four husbands, who are
     all brothers, and with each of whom she cohabits a
     month at a time. What is more singular, such men as, by
     the paucity of women among the tribe, are prevented
     from obtaining a share in a wife, are allowed, with the
     permission of the fraternal husbands, to become
     temporary partners with them. Notwithstanding these
     singular family arrangements, the greatest harmony
     appears to prevail among all parties--husbands, wives,
     and lovers."

Whatever may have been the causes leading to the strange custom of
marrying one woman to several men--poverty, the desire to reduce the
population in mountainous regions, scarcity of women due to female
infanticide, the need of protection of a woman during the absence of
one husband--the fact stares us in the face that a race of men who
calmly submit to such a disgusting practice cannot know jealousy. So,
too, in the cases of _jus primae noctis_ (referred to in the chapter
on Indifference to Chastity), where the men not only submitted to an
outrage so damnable to our sense of honor, affection, and monopoly,
but actually coveted it as a privilege or a religious blessing and
paid for it accordingly. Note once more how the sentiments associated
with women and love change and grow.

Petherick says (151) that among the Hassangeh Arabs, marriages are
valid only three or four days, the wives being free the rest of the
time to make other alliances. The married men, far from feeling this a

     "felt themselves highly flattered by any attentions
     paid to their better halves during their free-and-easy
     days. They seem to take such attentions as evidence
     that their wives are attractive."

A readiness to forgive trespasses for a consideration is widely
prevalent. Powers says that with the California Indians "no adultery
is so flagrant but the husband can be placated with money, at about
the same rate that would be paid for murder." The Tasmanians
illustrate the fact that the same tribes that are the most ferocious
in the punishment of secret amours--that is, infringements on their
property rights--are often the most liberal in lending their wives. As
Bonwick tells us (72), they felt honored if white men paid attention
to them. A circumstance which seems to have puzzled some naïve
writers: that Australians and Africans have been known to show less
"jealousy" of whites than of their own countrymen, finds an easy
explanation in the greater ability of the white man to pay for the
husband's complaisance. In some cases, in the absence of a fine, the
husband takes his revenge in other ways, subjecting the culprit's wife
to the same outrage (as among natives of Guiana and New Caledonia) or
delivering his own guilty (or rather disobedient) wife to young men
(as among the Omahas) and then abandoning her. The custom of accepting
compensation for adultery prevailed also among Dyaks, Mandingoes,
Kaffirs, Mongolians, Pahari and other tribes of India, etc. Falkner
says (126) that among the Patagonians in cases of adultery the wife is
not blamed, but the gallant is punished

     "unless he atones for the injury by some valuable
     present. They have so little decency in this respect,
     that oftentimes, at the command of the wizards, they
     superstitiously send their wives to the woods to
     prostitute themselves to the first person they meet."


Enough has been said to prove the incorrectness of Westermarck's
assertion (515) that the lack of jealousy is "a rare exception in the
human race." Real jealousy, as a matter of fact, is unknown to the
lower races, and even the feeling of revenge that passes by that name
is commonly so feeble as to be obliterated by compensations of a more
or less trifling kind. When we come to a stage of civilization like
that represented by Persians and other Orientals, or by the ancient
Greeks, we find that men are indeed no longer willing to lend their
wives. They seem to have a regard for chastity and a desire for
conjugal monopoly. Other important traits of modern jealousy are,
however, still lacking, notably affection. The punishments are
hideously cruel; they are still inflicted "in hate, not in love." In
other words, the jealousy is not yet of the kind which may form an
ingredient of love. Its essence is still "bloody thoughts and

Reich cites (256) a typical instance of Oriental ferocity toward an
erring wife, from a book by J.J. Strauss, who relates that on June 9,
1671, a Persian avenged himself on his wife for a trespass by flaying
her alive, and then, as a warning to other women, hanging up her skin
in the house. Strauss saw with his own eyes how the flayed body was
thrown into the street and dragged out into a field. Drowning in
sacks, throwing from towers, and other fiendish modes of vengeance
have prevailed in Persia as far back as historic records go; and the
women, when they got a chance, were no better than the men. Herodotus
relates how the wife of Xerxes, having found her husband's cloak in
the house of Masista, cut off his wife's breasts and gave them to the
dogs, besides mutilating her otherwise, as well as her daughter.

The monogamous Greeks were not often guilty of such atrocities, but
their custom (nearly universal and not confined to Athens, as is often
erroneously stated) of locking up their women in the interior of the
houses, shutting them off from almost everything that makes life
interesting, betrays a kind of jealousy hardly less selfish than that
of the savages who disposed of their wives as they pleased. It
practically made slaves and prisoners of them, quite in the Oriental
style. Such a custom indicates an utter lack of sympathy and
tenderness, not to speak of the more romantic ingredients of love,
such as adoration and gallantry; and it implies a supreme contempt for
and distrust of, character in wives, all the more reprehensible
because the Greeks did not value purity _per se_ but only for
genealogical reason, as is proved by the honors they paid to the
disreputable hetairai. There are surprisingly few references to
masculine jealousy in Greek erotic literature. The typical Greek lover
seems to have taken rivalry as blandly as the hero of Terence's play
spoken of in the last chapter, who, after various outbursts of
sentimentality, is persuaded, in a speech of a dozen lines, to share
his mistress with a rich officer. Nor can I see anything but maudlin
sentimentality in such conceits as Meleager utters in two of his poems
(_Anthology_, 88, 93) in which he expresses jealousy of sleep, for its
privilege of closing his mistress's eyes; and again of the flies which
suck her blood and interrupt her slumber. The girl referred to is
Zenophila, a common wanton (see No. 90). This is the sensual side of
the Greek jealousy, chastity being out of the question.

The purely genealogical side of Greek masculine jealousy is strikingly
revealed in the _Medea_ of Euripides. Medea had, after slaying her own
brother, left her country to go with Jason to Corinth. Here Jason,
though he had two children by her, married the daughter of the King
Creon. With brutal frankness, but quite in accordance with the selfish
Greek ideas, he tries to explain to Medea the motives for his second
marriage: that they might all dwell in comfort instead of suffering

     "and that I might rear my sons as doth befit my house;
     further, that I might be the father of brothers for the
     children thou hast borne, and raise these to the same
     high rank, uniting the family in one--_to my lasting
     bliss_. Thou, indeed, hast no need of more children,
     but me it profits to help my present family by that
     which is to be. Have I miscarried here? Not even thou
     wouldst say so unless a rival's charms rankled in thy
     bosom. No, but you women have such strange ideas, that
     you think all is well so long as your married life runs
     smooth; but if some mischance occur to ruffle your
     love, all that was good and lovely erst you reckon as
     your foes. Yea, men should have begotten children from
     some other source, no female race existing; thus would
     no evil ever have fallen on mankind."

Jason, Greek-fashion, looked upon a woman's jealousy as mere unbridled
lust, which must not be allowed to stand in the way of the men's
selfish desire to secure filial worship of their precious shades after
death. As Benecke remarks (56): "For a woman to wish to keep her
husband to herself was a sign that she was at once unreasonable and
lascivious." The women themselves were trained and persuaded to take
this view. The chorus of Corinthian women admonishes Medea: "And if
thy lord prefers a fresh love, be not angered with him for that; Zeus
will judge 'twixt thee and him herein." Medea herself says to Jason:
"Hadst thou been childless still, I could have pardoned thy desire for
this new union." And again: "Hadst thou not had a villain's heart,
thou shouldst have gained my consent, then made this match, instead of
hiding it from those who loved thee"--a sentiment which would seem to
us astounding and inexplicable had we not became familiar with it in
the preceding pages relating to savages and barbarians, by whom what
we call infidelity was considered unobjectionable, provided it was not
done secretly.

By her subsequent actions Medea shows in other ways that her jealousy
is entirely of the primitive sort--fiendish revenge proceeding from
hate. Of the chorus she asks but one favor: "Silence, if haply I can
some way or means devise to _avenge_ me on my husband for this cruel
treatment;" and the chorus agrees: "Thou wilt be taking a just
vengeance on thy husband, Medea." Creon, having heard that she had
threatened with mischief not only Jason but his bride and her father,
wants her to leave the city. She replies, hypocritically:

     "Fear me not, Creon, my position scarce is such that I
     should seek to quarrel with princes. Why should I, for how
     hast thou injured me? Thou hast betrothed thy daughter where
     thy fancy prompted thee. No, 'tis my husband I hate."

But as soon as the king has left her, she sends to the innocent bride
a present of a beautifully embroidered robe, poisoned by witchcraft.
As soon as the bride has put it on she turns pale, foam issues from
her mouth, her eyeballs roll in their sockets, a flame encircles her,
preying on her flesh. With an awful shriek she sinks to the earth,
past all recognition save to the eye of her father, who folds her in
his arms, crying, "Who is robbing me of thee, old as I am and ripe for
death? Oh, my child! would I could die with thee!" And his wish is
granted, for he

     "found himself held fast by the fine-spun robe...and then ensued
     a fearful struggle. He strove to rise but she still held him
     back; and if ever he pulled with all his might, from off his
     bones his aged flesh he tore. At last he gave it up, and breathed
     forth his soul in awful suffering; for he could no longer master
     the pain."

Not content with this, Medea cruelly slays Jason's children--her own
flesh and blood--not in a frenzied impulse, for she has meditated that
from the beginning, but to further glut her revengeful spirit. "I did
it," she says to Jason, "to vex thy heart." And when she hears of the
effect of the garment she had sent to his bride, she implores the
messenger, "Be not so hasty, friend, but tell the manner of her death,
for thou wouldst give me double joy, if so they perished miserably."


A passion of which such horrors are a possible outcome may well have
led Euripides to write: "Ah me! ah me! to mortal man how dread a
scourge is love!" But this passion is not love, or part of love. The
horrors of such "jealousy" are often witnessed in modern life, but not
where true love--affection--ever had its abode. It is the jealousy of
the savage, which still survives, as other low phases of sexual
passion do. The records of missionaries and others who have dwelt
among savages contain examples of deeds as foul, as irrational, as
vindictive as Medea's; deeds in which, as in the play of Euripides,
the fury is vented on innocent victims, while the real culprit escapes
with his life and sometimes even derives amusement from the situation.
In _Oneota_ (187-90), Schoolcraft relates the story of an Indian's
wife who entered the lodge when his new bride was sitting by his side
and plunged a dagger in her heart. Among the Fuegians Bove found (131)
that in polygamous households many a young favorite lost her life
through the fury of the other wives. More frequently this kind of
jealousy vents itself in mutilations. Williams, in his book on the
Fijians (152), relates that one day a native woman was asked, "How is
it that so many of you women are without a nose?" The answer was: "It
grows out of a plurality of wives. Jealousy causes hatred, and then
the stronger tries to cut or bite off the nose of the one she hates,"
He also relates a case where a wife, jealous of a younger favorite,
"pounced on her, and tore her sadly with nails and teeth, and injured
her mouth by attempting to slit it open," A woman who had for two
years been a member of a polygamous family told Williams that
contentions among the women were endless, that they knew no comfort,
that the bitterest hatred prevailed, while mutual cursings and
recriminations were of daily occurrence. When one of the wives is so
unfortunate as to fall under the husband's displeasure too, the others
"fall upon her, cuffing, kicking, scratching, and even trampling on
the poor creature, so unmercifully as to leave her half dead." Bourne
writes (89), that Patagonian women sometimes "fight like tigers.
Jealousy is a frequent occasion. If a squaw suspects her liege lord of
undue familiarity with a rival, she darts upon the fair enchantress
with the fury of a wild beast; then ensues such a pounding,
scratching, hair-pulling, as beggars description." Meanwhile the gay
deceiver stands at a safe distance, chuckling at the fun. The
licentiousness of these Indians, he says, is equal to their cruelty.
Powers (238) gives this graphic picture of a domestic scene common
among the Wintun Indians of California. A chief, he says, may have two
or more wives, but the attempt to introduce a second frequently leads
to a fight.

     "The two women dispute for the supremacy, often in a
     desperate pitched battle with sharp stones, seconded by
     their respective friends. They maul each other's faces
     with savage violence, and if one is knocked down her
     friends assist her to regain her feet, and the brutal
     combat is renewed until one or the other is driven from
     the wigwam. The husband stands by and looks placidly
     on, and when all is over he accepts the situation,
     retaining in his lodge the woman who has conquered the


As a rule, however, there is more bark than bite in the conduct of the
wives of a polygamous household, as is proved by the ease with which
the husband, if he cares to, can with words or presents overcome the
objections of his first wife to new-comers; even, for instance, in the
case of such advanced barbarians as the Omaha Indians, who are said to
have actually allowed a wife to punish a faithless husband--an
exception so rare as to be almost incredible. Dorsey says of the
Omahas (26):

     "When a man wishes to take a second wife he always
     consults his first wife, reasoning thus with her: 'I
     wish you to have less work to do, so I think of taking
     your sister, your aunt, or your brother's daughter for
     my wife. You can then have her to aid you with your
     work.' Should the first wife refuse, the man cannot
     marry the other woman. Generally no objection is
     offered, if the second woman be one of the kindred of
     the first wife. Sometimes the wife will make the
     proposition to her husband: 'I wish you to marry my
     brother's daughter, as she and I are one flesh.'"

Concerning the inhabitants of the Philippine island of Mindanao, a
German writer says (_Zeit. für Ethn_., 1885, 12):

     "The wives are in no way jealous of one another; on the
     contrary, they are glad to get a new companion, as that
     enables them to share their work with another."

Schwaner says of the Borneans that if a man takes a second wife he
pays to the first the _batu saki_, amounting to from sixty to one
hundred guilders, and moreover he gives her presents, consisting of
clothes, "in order to appease her completely," In reference to the
tribes of Western Washington and Northwestern Oregon, Gibbs says

     "The accession of a new wife in the lodge very
     naturally produces jealousy and discord, and the first
     often returns for a time in dudgeon to her friends, to
     be reclaimed by her husband when he chooses, perhaps
     after propitiating her by some presents."

Such instances might be multiplied _ad libitum_.

In a still larger number of cases primitive woman's objection to
rivals is easily overcome by the desire for the social position,
wealth, and comfort which polygamy confers. I have already cited, in
the chapter on Honorable Polygamy, a number of typical incidents
showing how vanity, the desire to belong to a man who can afford
several wives, or the wish to share the hard domestic or field work
with others, often smothers the feeling of jealousy so completely that
wives laugh at the idea of having their husbands all to themselves,
beg them to choose other companions, or even use their own hard-earned
money to buy them for their husbands. As this point is of exceptional
importance, as evidencing radical changes in the ideas relating to
sexual relations--and the resulting feelings themselves--further
evidence is admissible.

Of the Plains Indians in general Colonel Dodge remarks (20):

     "Jealousy would seem to have no place in the
     composition of an Indian woman, and many prefer to be,
     even for a time, the favorite of a man who already has
     a wife or wives, and who is known to be a good husband
     and provider, rather than tempt the precarious chances
     of an untried man."

And again:

     "I have known several Indians of middle age, with already
     numerous wives and children, who were such favorites with
     the sex that they might have increased their number of wives
     to an unlimited extent had they been so disposed, and this,
     too, from among the very nicest girls of the tribe."

E.R. Smith, in his book on the Araucanians (213-14) tells of a Mapuché
wife who, when he saw her,

     "was frequently accompanied by a younger and handsomer
     woman than herself, whom she pointed out, with evident
     satisfaction, as her 'other self'--that is, her
     husband's wife number two, a recent addition to the
     family. Far from being dissatisfied, or entertaining
     any jealousy toward the newcomer, she said that she
     wished her husband would marry again; for she
     considered it a great relief to have someone to assist
     her in her household duties and in the maintenance of
     her husband."

McLean, who spent twenty-five years among the Tacullies and other
Indians of the Hudson Bay region, says (301) that while polygamy
prevails "the most perfect harmony seems to subsist among them."
Hunter, who knew the Missouri and Arkansas Indians well, says (255)
that "jealousy is a passion but little known, and much less indulged,
among the Indians." In cases of polygamy the wives have their own
lodges, separated by a short distance. They "occasionally visit each
other, and generally live on the most friendly terms." But even this
separation is not necessary, as we see from Catlin, who relates (I.,
119) that among the Mandans it is common to see six or eight wives of
a chief or medicine man "living under one roof, and all apparently
quiet and contented."

In an article on the Zulus (_Humanitarian_, March, 1897), Miss Colenso
refers to the fact that while polygamy is the custom, each wife has
her own hut, wherefore

     "you have none of the petty jealousies and quarrelling
     which distinguish the harems of the East, among the
     Zulu women, who, as a rule, are most friendly to each
     other, and the many wives of a great chief will live in
     a little colony of huts, each mistress in her own house
     and family, and interchanging friendly visits with the
     other ladies similarly situated."

But in Africa, too, separation is not essential to secure a peaceful
result. Paulitschke (_B.E.A.S_., 30) reports that among the Somali
polygamy is customary, two wives being frequent, and he adds that "the
wives live together in harmony and have their household in common."
Among the Abyssinian Arabs, Sir Samuel Baker found (127) that
"concubinage is not considered a breach of morality; neither is it
regarded by the legitimate wives with jealousy." Chillié (_Centr.
Afr_., 158), says of the Landamas and Nalous: "It is very remarkable
that good order and perfect harmony prevail among all these women who
are called to share the same conjugal couch." The same writer says of
the polygamous Foulahs (224):

     "In general the women appear very happy, and by no
     means jealous of each other, except when the husbands
     make a present to one without giving anything to the

Note the last sentence; it casts a strong light on our problem. It
suggests that even where a semblance of jealousy is manifested by such
women it may often be an entirely different thing from the jealousy we
associate with love; envy, greed, or rivalry being more accurate terms
for it. Here is another instance in point. Drake, in his work on the
Indians of the United States has the following (I., 178):

     "Where there is a plurality of wives, if one gets finer
     goods than the others, there is sure to be some
     quarrelling among the women; and if one or two of them
     are not driven off, it is because the others have not
     strength enough to do so. The man sits and looks on,
     and lets the women fight it out. If the one he loves
     most is driven off, he will go and stay with her, and
     leave the others to shift for themselves awhile, until
     they can behave better, as he says."

The Rev. Peter Jones gives this description (81) of a fight he
witnessed between the two wives of an Ojibway chief:

     "The quarrel arose from the unequal distribution of a
     loaf of bread between the children. The husband being
     absent, the wife who had brought the bread to the
     wigwam gave a piece of it to each child, but the best
     and largest portion to her _own_. Such partiality
     immediately led to a quarrel. The woman who brought the
     bread threw the remainder in anger to the other; she as
     quickly cast it back again; in this foolish way they
     kept on for some time, till their fury rose to such a
     height that they at length sprang at one another,
     catching hold of the hair of the head; and when each
     had uprooted a handful their ire seemed satisfied."

To make clear the difference between such ebullitions of temper and
the passion properly called jealousy, let us briefly sum up the
contents of this chapter. In its first stage it is a mere masculine
rage in presence of a rival. An Australian female in such a case
calmly goes off with the victor. A savage looks upon his wife, not as
a person having rights and feelings of her own, but as a piece of
property which he has stolen or bought, and may therefore do with
whatever he pleases. In the second stage, accordingly, women are
guarded like other movable property, infringement on which is fiercely
resented and avenged, though not from any jealous regard for chastity,
for the same husband who savagely punishes his wife for secret
adultery, willingly lends her to guests as a matter of hospitality, or
to others for a compensation. In some cases the husband's "wounded
feelings" may be cured by the payment of a fine, or subjecting the
culprit's wife to indignities. At a higher stage, where some regard is
paid to chastity--at least in the women reserved for genealogical
purposes--masculine jealousy is still of the sensual type, which leads
to the life-long imprisonment of women in order to enforce a fidelity
which in the absence of true love could not be secured otherwise. As
for the wives in primitive households, they often indulge in "jealous"
squabbles, but their passion, though it may lead to manifestations of
rage and to fierce and cruel fights, is after all only skin deep, for
it is easily overcome with soft words, presents, or the desire for the
social position and comfort which can be secured in the house of a man
who is wealthy enough to marry several women--especially if the
husband is rich and wise enough to keep the women in separate lodges;
though even that is often unnecessary.

There is no difficulty in understanding why primitive feminine
"jealousy," despite seeming exceptions, should have been so shallow
and transient a feeling. Everything conspired to make it so. From the
earliest times the men made systematic efforts to prevent the growth
of that passion in women because it interfered with their own selfish
desires. Hearne says of the women of the Northern Indians that "they
are kept so much in awe of their husbands, that the liberty of
thinking is the greatest privilege they enjoy" (310); and A.H. Keane
(_Journ. of Anthrop. Inst_., 1883) remarks that while the Botocudos
often indulge in fierce outbreaks of jealousy, "the women have not yet
acquired the right to be jealous, a sentiment implying a certain
degree of equality between the sexes." Everywhere the women were
taught to subordinate themselves to the men, and among the Hindoos as
among the Greeks, by the ancient Hebrews as well as by the mediaeval
Arabs freedom from jealousy was inculcated as a supreme virtue. Rachel
actually fancied she was doing a noble thing in giving her handmaids
to Jacob as concubines. Lane (246) quotes the Arab historian
El-Jabartee, who said of his first wife:

     "Among her acts of conjugal piety and submission was
     this that she used to buy for her husband beautiful
     slave girls, with her own wealth, and deck them with
     ornaments and apparel, and so present them to him
     confidently looking to the reward and recompense which
     she should receive [in Paradise] for such conduct."

"In case of failure of an heir," says Griffis, in his famous work on
Japan (557), "the husband is fully justified, often strongly advised
even by his wife, to take a handmaid to raise up seed to preserve
their ancestral line." A Persian instance is given by Ida Pfeiffer
(261), who was introduced at Tabreez to the wives of Behmen-Mirza,
concerning whom she writes:

     "They presented to me the latest addition to the
     harem--a plump brown little beauty of sixteen; and they
     seemed to treat their new rival with great good nature
     and told me how much trouble they had been taking to
     teach her Persian."


Casting back a glance over the ground traversed, we see that women as
well as men--primitive, ancient, oriental--were either strangers to
jealousy of any kind, or else knew it only as a species of anger,
hatred, cruelty, and selfish sensuality; never as an ingredient of
love. Australian women, Lumholtz tells us (203), "often have bitter
quarrels about men whom they love[19] and are anxious to marry. If the
husband is unfaithful, the wife frequently becomes greatly enraged."
As chastity is not by Australians regarded as a duty or a virtue, such
conduct can only be explained by referring to what Roth, for instance,
says (141) in regard to the Kalkadoon. Among these, where a man may
have as many as four or five wives,

     "the discarded ones will often, through jealousy, fight with
     her whom they consider more favored; on such occasions they
     may often resort to stone-throwing, or even use fire-sticks
     and stone-knives with which to mutilate the genitals."

Similarly, various cruel disfigurements of wives by husbands or other
wives, previously referred to as customary among savages, have their
motive in the desire to mar the charms of a rival or a disobedient
conjugal slave. The Indian chief who bites off an intriguing wife's
nose or lower lip takes, moreover, a cruel delight at sight of the
pain he inflicts--a delight of which he would be incapable were he
capable of love. To such an Indian, Shakspere's lines

     But O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
     Who dotes yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves,

would be as incomprehensible as a Beethoven symphony. With his usual
genius for condensation, Shakspere has in those two lines given the
essentials of true jealousy--suspicion causing agony rather than
anger, and proceeding from love, not from hate. The fear, distress,
humiliation, anguish of modern jealousy are in the mind of the injured
husband. He suffers torments, but has no wish to torment either of the
guilty ones. There are, indeed, even in civilized countries, husbands
who slay erring wives; but they are not civilized husbands: like
Othello, they still have the taint of the savage in them. Civilized
husbands resort to separation, not to mutilation or murder; and in
dismissing the guilty wife, they punish themselves more than her--for
she has shown by her actions that she does not love him and therefore
cannot feel the deepest pang of the separation. There is no anger, no
desire for revenge.

     How comes this gentle concord in the world,
     That hatred is so far from jealousy?

It comes in the world through love--through the fact that a man--or a
woman--who truly loves, cannot tolerate even the thought of punishing
one who has held first place in his or her affections. Modern law
emphasizes the essential point when it punishes adultery because of
"alienation of the affections."


Thus, whereas the "jealousy" of the savage who is transported by his
sense of proprietorship to bloody deeds and to revenge is a most
ignoble passion, incompatible with love, the jealousy of modern
civilization has become a noble passion, justified by moral ideals and
affection--"a kind of godly jealousy which I beseech you call a
virtuous sin."

     Where Love reigns, disturbing Jealousy
     Doth call himself Affection's sentinel.

And let no one suppose that by purging itself of bloody violence,
hatred, and revenge, and becoming the sentinel of _affection_,
jealousy has lost any of its intensity. On the contrary, its depth is
quintupled. The bluster and fury of savage violence is only a
momentary ebullition of sensual passion, whereas the anguish of
jealousy as we feel it is

            Agony unmix'd, _incessant_ gall,
     Corroding every thought, and blasting all
     Love's paradise.

Anguish of mind is infinitely more intense than mere physical pain,
and the more cultivated the mind, the deeper is its capacity for such
"agony unmix'd." Mental anguish doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw
the inwards, and create a condition in which "not poppy, nor
mandragora, nor all the drowsy syrups of the world shall ever
medicine" the victim to that sleep which he enjoyed before. His heart
is turned to stone; he strikes it and it hurts his hand. Trifles light
as air are proofs to him that his suspicions are realities, and life
is no longer worth living.

                             O now for ever
     Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!
     Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars
     That make ambition virtue!


The assertion that modern jealousy is a noble passion is of course to
be taken with reservations. Where it leads to murder or revenge it is
a reversion to the barbarous type, and apart from that it is, like all
affections of the mind, liable to abnormal and morbid states. Harry
Campbell writes in the _Lancet_ (1898) that

     "the inordinate development of this emotion always betokens a
     neurotic diathesis, and not infrequently indicates the oncoming
     of insanity. It is responsible for much useless suffering and not
     a little actual disease."

Dr. O'Neill gives a curious example of the latter, in the same
periodical. He was summoned to a young woman who informed him that she
wished to be cured of jealousy: "I am jealous of my husband, and if
you do not give me something I shall go out of my mind." The husband
protested his innocence and declared there was no cause whatever for
her accusations:

     "The wife persisted in reiterating them and so the
     wrangle went on till suddenly she fell from her chair
     on the floor in a fit, the spasmodic movements of which
     were so strange and varied that it would be almost
     impossible to describe them. At one moment the patient
     was extended at full length with her body arched
     forward in a state of opisthotonos. The next minute she
     was in a sitting position with the legs drawn up,
     making, while her hands clutched her throat, a guttural
     noise. Then she would throw herself on her back and
     thrust her arms and legs about to the no small danger
     of those around her. Then becoming comparatively quiet
     and supine she would quiver all over while her eyelids
     trembled with great rapidity. This state perhaps would
     be followed by general convulsive movements in which
     she would put herself into the most grotesque postures
     and make the most unlovely grimaces. At last the fit
     ended, and exhausted and in tears she was put to bed.
     The patient was a lithe, muscular woman and to restrain
     her movements during the attack with the assistance at
     hand was a matter of impossibility, so all that could
     be done was to prevent her injuring herself and to
     sprinkle her freely with cold water. The
     after-treatment was more geographical than medical. The
     husband ceased doing business in a certain town where
     the object of his wife's suspicions lived."

I have been told by a perfectly healthy married woman that when
jealous of her husband she felt a sensation as of some liquid welling
up in her throat and suffocating her. Pride came into play in part;
she did not want others to think that her husband preferred an
ignorant girl to her--a woman of great physical and mental charm.

Such jealousy, if unfounded, may be of the "self-harming" kind of
which one of Shakspere's characters exclaims "Fie! beat it hence!" Too
often, however, women have cause for jealousy, as modern civilized man
has not overcome the polygamous instincts he has inherited from his
ancestors since time immemorial. But whereas cause for feminine
jealousy has existed always, the right to feel it is a modern
acquisition. Moreover, while Apache wives were chaste from fear and
Greek women from necessity, modern civilized women are faithful from
the sense of honor, duty, affection, and in return for their devotion
they expect men to be faithful for the same reasons. Their jealousy
has not yet become retrospective, like that of the men; but they
justly demand that after marriage men shall not fall below the
standard of purity they have set up for the women, and they insist on
a conjugal monopoly of the affections as strenuously as the men do. In
due course of time, as Dr. Campbell suggests, "we may expect the
monogamous instinct in man to be as powerful as in some of the lower
animals; and feminine jealousy will help to bring about this result;
for if women were indifferent on this point men would never improve."


The jealousy of romantic love, preceding marriage, differs from the
jealousy of conjugal love in so far as there can be no claim to a
monopoly of affection where the very existence of any reciprocated
affection still remains in doubt. Before the engagement the uncertain
lover in presence of a rival is tortured by doubt, anxiety, fear,
despair, and he may violently hate the other man, though (as I know
from personal experience) not necessarily, feeling that the rival has
as much claim to the girl's attention as he has. Duels between rival
lovers are not only silly, but are an insult to the girl, to whom the
choice ought to be submitted and the verdict accepted manfully. A man
who shoots the girl herself, because she loves another and refuses
him, puts himself on a level below the lowest brute, and cannot plead
either true love or true jealousy as his excuse. After the engagement
the sense of monopoly and the consciousness of plighted troth enter
into the lover's feelings, and intruders are properly warded off with
indignation. In romantic jealousy the leading role is played by the
imagination; it loves to torture its victim by conjuring visions of
the beloved smiling on a rival, encircled by his arm, returning his
kisses. Everything feeds his suspicions; he is "dwelling in a
continual 'larum of jealousy." Oft his jealousy "shapes faults that
are not" and he taints his heart and brain with needless doubt. "Ten
thousand fears invented wild, ten thousand frantic views of horrid
rivals, hanging on the charms for which he melts in fondness, eat him
up." Such passion inflames love but corrodes the soul. In perfect
love, as I said at the beginning of this chapter, jealousy is
potential only, not actual.


When a man is in love he wears his heart on his sleeve and feels eager
to have the beloved see how passionately it throbs for her. When a
girl is in love she tries to conceal her heart in the innermost
recesses of her bosom, lest the lover discover her feelings
prematurely. In other words, coyness is a trait of feminine love--the
only ingredient of that passion which is not, to some extent, common
to both sexes. "The cruel nymph well knows to feign, ... coy looks and
cold disdain," sang Gay; and "what value were there in the love of the
maiden, were it yielded without coy delay?" asks Scott.

     'Tis ours to be forward and pushing;
     'Tis yours to affect a disdain,

Lady Montagu makes a man say, and Richard Savage sings:

     You love; yet from your lover's wish retire;
     Doubt, yet discern; deny, and yet desire.
     Such, Polly, are your sex--part truth, part fiction,
     Some thought, much whim, and all a contradiction.

"Part truth, part fiction;" the girl romances regarding her feelings;
her romantic love is tinged with coyness. "She will rather die than
give any sign of affection," says Benedick of Beatrice; and in that
line Shakspere reveals one of the two essential traits of genuine
modern coyness--_dissemblance of feminine affection_.

Was coyness at all times an attribute of femininity, or is it an
artificial product of modern social conditions and culture? Is coyness
ever manifested apart from love, or does its presence prove the
presence of love? These two important questions are to be answered in
the present section.


The opinion prevails that everywhere and always the first advances
were made by the men, the women being passive, and coyly reserved.
This opinion--like many other notions regarding the relations of the
sexes--rests on ignorance, pure ignorance. In collecting the scattered
facts bearing on this subject I have been more and more surprised at
the number of exceptions to the rule, if, indeed, rule it be. Not only
are there tribes among whom women _must_ propose--as in the Torres
Straits Islands, north of Australia, and with the Garos of India,
concerning whom interesting details will be given in later chapters;
but among many other savages and barbarians the women, instead of
repelling advances, make them.

"In all Polynesia," says Gerland (VI., 127), "it was a common
occurrence that the women wooed the men." "A proposal of marriage,"
writes Gill (_Savage Life in Polynesia_, II.), "may emanate with
propriety from a woman of rank to an equal or an inferior." In an
article on Fijian poetry (731-53), Sir Arthur Gordon cites the
following native poem:

     The girls of Vunivanua all had lovers,
     But I, poor I, had not even one.
     Yet I fell desperately in love one day,
     My eye was filled with the beauty of Vasunilawedua.
     She ran along the beach, she called the canoe-men.
     She is conveyed to the town where her beloved dwells.
     Na Ulumatua sits in his canoe unfastening its gear.
     He asks her, "Why have you come here, Sovanalasikula?"
     "They have been falling in love at Vunivanua," she answers;
     "I, too, have fallen in love. I love your lovely son,
     Na Ulumatua rose to his feet. He loosened a tambua whale's
          tooth from the canoe.
     "This," he said, presenting it to her, "is my offering to
          you for your return. My son cannot wed you, lady."
     Tears stream from her eyes, they stream down on her breast.
     "Let me only live outside his house," she says;
     "I will sleep upon the wood-pile. If I may only light his
          seluka [cigarrette] for him, I shall rejoice.
     If I may only hear his voice from a distance, it will
          suffice. Life will be pleasant to me."
     Na Ulumatua replied, "Be magnanimous, lady, and return.
     We have many girls of our own. Return to your own land.
     Vasunilawedua cannot wed a stranger."
     Sovanalasikula went away crying.
     She returned to her own town, forlorn.
     Her life was sadness.
     Ia nam bosulu.

Tregear (102) describes the "wooing house" in which New Zealand girls
used to stand up in the dark and say: "I love so-and-so, I want him
for a husband;" whereupon the chosen lover, if willing, would say yes,
or cough to signify his assent. Among the Pueblo Indians

     "the usual order of courtship is reversed; when a girl is
     disposed to marry, she does not wait for a young man to
     propose to her, but selects one to her own liking and
     consults her father, who visits the parents of the youth and
     acquaints them with his daughter's wishes. It seldom happens
     that any objections to the match are made" (Bancroft, I.,

and concerning the Spokane Indians the same writer says (276) that a
girl "may herself propose if she wishes." Among the Moquis, "instead
of the swain asking the hand of the fair one, she selects the young
man who is to her fancy, and then her father proposes the match to the
sire of the lucky youth" (Schoolcraft, IV., 86). Among the Dariens,
says Heriot (325), "it is considered no mark of forwardness" in a
woman "openly to avow her inclination," and in Paraguay, too, women
were allowed to propose (Moore, 261). Indian girls of the Hudson River

     "were not debarred signifying their desire to enter
     matrimonial life. When one of them wished to be married, she
     covered her face with a veil and sat covered as an
     indication of her desire. If she attracted a suitor,
     negotiations were opened with parents or friends, presents
     given, and the bride taken" (Ruttenber).

A comic mode of catching a husband is described in an episode from the
tale "Owasso and Wayoond" (Schoolcraft, _A.R._ II., 210-11):

     "Manjikuawis was forward in her advances toward him.
     He, however, paid no attention to it, and shunned her.
     She continued to be very assiduous in attending to his
     wants, such as cooking and mending his mocassins. She
     felt hurt and displeased at his indifference, and
     resolved to play him a trick. Opportunity soon offered.
     The lodge was spacious, and she dug a hole in the
     ground, where the young man usually sat, covering it
     very carefully. When the brothers returned from the
     chase the young man threw himself down carelessly at
     the usual place, and fell into the cavity, his head and
     feet remaining out, so that he was unable to extricate
     himself. 'Ha! ha!' cried Manjikuawis, as she helped him
     out, 'you are mine, I have caught you at last, and I
     did it on purpose.' A smile came over the young man's
     face, and he said, 'So be it, I will be yours;' and
     from that moment they lived happily as man and wife."

It was a common thing among various Indian tribes for the women to
court distinguished warriors; and though they might have no choice in
the matter, they could at any rate place themselves temptingly in the
way of these braves, who, on their part, had no occasion to be coy,
since they could marry all the squaws they pleased. The squaws, too,
did not hesitate to indulge, if not in two husbands, in more than one
lover. Commenting on the Mandans, for instance, Maximilian Prinz zu
Wied declares (II., 127) that "coyness is not a virtue of the Indian
women; they often have two or three lovers at a time." Among the
Pennsylvania Indians it was a common thing for a girl to make suit to
a young man.

     "Though the first address may be by the man, yet the other
     is the most common. The squaws are generally very immodest
     in their words and actions, and will often put the young men
     to the blush. The men commonly appear to be possessed of
     much more modesty than the women." (Bancroft, II., 140.)

Even a coating of culture does not seem to curb the young squaw's
propensity to make the first advances. Captain R.H. Pratt (_U.S. Geol.
and G.S_., IX., 260), of the Carlisle School, relates an amusing story
of a Kiowa young man who, under a variety of circumstances, "never
cared for girl. 'But when Laura say she love me, then I began to care
for girl.'"

In his _First Footsteps_ (85, 86) Burton gives a glimpse of the
"coyness" of Bedouin women:

     "We met a party of Esa girls, who derided my color and
     doubted the fact of my being a Moslem. The Arabs
     declared me to be a shaykh of shaykhs, and translated
     to the prettiest of the party an impromptu proposal of
     marriage. She showed but little coyness and stated her
     price to be an Andulli or necklace, a couple of
     Tobes--she asked one too many--a few handfuls of beads,
     and a small present for her papa. She promised, naïvely
     enough, to call next day and inspect the goods. The
     publicity of the town did not deter her, but the
     shamefacedness of my two companions prevented our
     meeting again."

In his book on Southern Abyssinia Johnston relates how, while staying
at Murroo, he was strongly recommended to follow the example of his
companions and take a temporary wife. There was no need of hunting for
helpmates--they offered themselves of their own accord. One of the
girls who presented herself as a candidate was stated by her friends
to be a very strong woman, who had already had four or five husbands.
"I thought this a rather strange recommendation," he adds, "but it was
evidently mentioned that she might find favor in my eyes." He found
that the best way out of such a dilemma was to engage the first old
hag that came along and leave it to her to ward off the others.
Masculine coyness under such conditions has its risks. Johnston
mentions the case of an Arab who, in the region of the Muzeguahs,
scorned a girl who wanted to be his temporary wife; whereupon "the
whole tribe asserted he had treated them with contempt by his haughty
conduct toward the girl, and demanded to know if she was not good
enough for him." He had to give them some brass wire and blue sood
before he could allay the national indignation aroused by his refusal
to take the girl. Women have rights which must be respected, even in

In Dutch Borneo there is a special kind of "marriage by stratagem"
called _matep_. If a girl desires a particular man he is inveigled
into her house, the door is shut, the walls are hung with cloth of
different colors and other ornaments, dinner is served up and he is
informed of the girl's wish to marry him. If he declines, he is
obliged to pay the value of the hangings and the ornaments. (Roth,

"Uncertain, coy, and hard to please" obviously cannot be sung of such

In one of the few native Australian stories on record the two wives of
a man are represented as going to his brother's hut when he was
asleep, and imitating the voice of an emu. The noise woke him, and he
took his spear to kill them; but as soon as he ran out the two women
spoke and requested him to be their husband. (Wood's _Native Tribes_,

The fact that Australian women have absolutely no choice in the
assignment of husbands, must make them inclined to offer themselves to
men they like, just as Indian girls offer themselves to noted warriors
in the hope of thus calling attention to their personal attractions.
As we shall see later, one of the ways in which an Australian wins a
wife is by means of magic. In this game, as Spencer and Gillen tell us
(556), the women sometimes take the initiative, thus inducing a man to
elope with them.


The English language is a queer instrument of thought. While coyness
has the various meanings of shyness, modest reserve, bashfulness,
shrinking from advances or familiarity, disdainfulness, the verb "to
coy" may mean the exact opposite--to coax, allure, entice, woo, decoy.
It is in _this_ sense that "coyness" is obviously a trait of primitive
maidens. What is more surprising is to find in brushing aside
prejudice and preconceived notions, that among ancient nations too it
is in this second sense rather than in the first that women are "coy."
The Hebrew records begin with the story of Adam and Eve, in which Eve
is stigmatized as the temptress. Rebekah had never seen the man chosen
for her by her male relatives, yet when she was asked if she would go
with his servant, she answered, promptly, "I will go." Rachel at the
well suffers her cousin to kiss her at first sight. Ruth does all the
courting which ends in making her the wife of Boaz. There is no
shrinking from advances, real or feigned, in any of these cases; no
suggestion of disguised feminine affection; and in two of them the
women make the advances. Potiphar's wife is another biblical case. The
word coy does not occur once in the Bible.

The idea that women are the aggressors, particularly in criminal
amours, is curiously ingrained in the literature of ancient Greece. In
the _Odyssey_ we read about the fair-haired goddess Circe, decoying
the companions of Odysseus with her sweet voice, giving them drugs and
potions, making them the victims of swinish indulgence of their
appetites. When Odysseus comes to their rescue she tries to allure him
too, saying, "Nay, then, pat up your blade within its sheath, and let
us now approach our bed that there we too may join in love and learn
to trust each other." Later on Odysseus has his adventure with the
Sirens, who are always "casting a spell of penetrating song, sitting
within a meadow," in order to decoy passing sailors. Charybdis is
another divine Homeric female who lures men to ruin. The island nymph
Calypso rescues Odysseus and keeps him a prisoner to her charms, until
after seven years he begins to shed tears and long for home "because
the nymph pleased him no more." Nor does the human Nausicäa manifest
the least coyness when she meets Odysseus at the river. Though he has
been cast on the shore naked, she remains, after her maids have run
away alarmed, and listens to his tale of woe. Then, after seeing him
bathed, anointed, and dressed, she exclaims to her waiting maids: "Ah,
might a man like this be called my husband, having his home here and
content to stay;" while to him later on she gives this broad hint:
"Stranger, farewell! when you are once again in your own land,
remember me, and how before all others it is to me you owe the saving
of your life."

Nausicäa is, however, a prude compared with the enamoured woman as the
Greek poets habitually paint her. Pausanias (II., Chap. 31), speaking
of a temple of Peeping Venus says:

     "From this very spot the enamoured Phaedra used to
     watch Hippolytus at his manly exercises. Here still
     grows the myrtle with pierced leaves, as I am told. For
     being at her wit's ends and finding no ease from the
     pangs of love, she used to wreak her fury on the leaves
     of this myrtle."

Professor Rohde, the most erudite authority on Greek erotic
literature, writes (34):

     "It is characteristic of the Greek popular tales which
     Euripides followed, in what might be called his
     tragedies of adultery, that they _always make the woman
     the vehicle of the pernicious passion_; it seems as if
     Greek feeling could not conceive of a _man_ being
     seized by an unmanly soft desire and urged on by it to
     passionate disregard of all human conventions and


Greek poets from Stesichorus to the Alexandrians are fond of
representing coy men. The story told by Athenaeus (XIV., ch. 11) of
Harpalyke, who committed suicide because the youth Iphiclus coyly
spurned her, is typical of a large class. No less significant is the
circumstance that when the coy backwardness happens to be on the side
of a female, she is usually a woman of masculine habits, devoted to
Diana and the chase. Several centuries after Christ we still find in
the romances an echo of this thoroughly Greek sentiment in the coy
attitude, at the beginning, of their youthful heroes.[20]

The well-known legend of Sappho--who flourished about a thousand years
before the romances just referred to were written--is quite in the
Greek spirit. It is thus related by Strabo:

     "There is a white rock which stretches out from Leucas
     to the sea and toward Cephalonia, that takes its name
     from its whiteness. The rock of Leucas has upon it a
     temple of Apollo, and the leap from it was supposed to
     stop love. From this it is said that Sappho first, as
     Menander says somewhere, in pursuit of the haughty
     Phaon, urged on by maddening desire, threw herself from
     its far-seen rocks, imploring thee [Apollo], lord and

Four centuries after Sappho we find Theocritus harping on the same
theme. His _Enchantress_ is a monologue in which a woman relates how
she made advances to a youth and won him. She saw him walking along
the road and was so smitten that she was prostrated and confined to
her bed for ten days. Then she sent her slave to waylay the youth,
with these instructions: "If you see him alone, say to him: 'Simaitha
desires you,' and bring him here." In this case the youth is not coy
in the least; but the sequel of the story is too bucolic to be told


It is well-known that the respectable women of Greece, especially the
virgins, were practically kept under lock and key in the part of the
house known as the gynaikonitis. This resulted in making them shy and
bashful--but not coy, if we may judge from the mirror of life known as
literature. Ramdohr observes, pertinently (III., 270):

     "Remarkable is the easy triumph of lovers over the
     innocence of free-born girls, daughters of citizens,
     examples of which may be found in the _Eunuchus_ and
     _Adelphi_ of Terence. They call attention to the low
     opinion the ancients had of a woman's power to guard
     her sensual impulses, and of her own accord resist
     attacks on her honor."

The Abbé Dubois says the same thing about Hindoo girls, and the reason
why they are so carefully guarded. It is hardly necessary to add that
since no one would be so foolish as to call a man honest who refrains
from stealing merely because he has no opportunity, it is equally
absurd to call a woman honest or coy who refrains from vice only
because she is locked up all the time. The fact (which seems to give
Westermarck (64-65) much satisfaction), that some Australians,
American Indian and other tribes watch young girls so carefully, does
not argue the prevalence of chaste coyness, but the contrary. If the
girls had an instinctive inclination to repel improper advances it
would not be necessary to cage and watch them. This inclination is not
inborn, does not characterize primitive women, but is a result of
education and culture.


Greatly as Greeks and Indians differ in some respects, they have two
things in common--a warlike spirit and contempt for women. "When Greek
meets Greek then comes a tug of war," and the Indian's chief delight
is scalp hunting. The Greeks, as Rohde notes (42),

     "depict their greatest heroes as incited to great deeds only
     by eagerness for battle and desire for glory. The love of
     women barely engages their attention transiently in hours of

Militarism is ever hostile to love except in its grossest forms. It
brutalizes the men and prevents the growth of feminine qualities,
coyness among others. Hence, wherever militarism prevails, we seek in
vain for feminine reserve. An interesting illustration of this may be
found in a brochure by Theodor Krabbes, _Die Frau im Altfranzösischen
Karls-Epos_ (9-38). The author, basing his inferences on an exhaustive
study and comparison of the Chansons de Geste of the eleventh and
twelfth centuries, draws the following general conclusions:

     "Girlish shyness is not a trait of the daughters, least
     of all those of heathen origin. Masculine tendencies
     characterize them from childhood. Fighting pleases them
     and they like to look on when there is a battle....
     Love plays an important role in nearly all the Chansons
     de Geste.... The woman wooes, the man grants: nearly
     always in these epics we read of a woman who loves,
     rarely of one who is loved.... In the very first hour
     of their acquaintance the girl is apt to yield herself
     entirely to the chosen knight, and she persists in her
     passion for him even if she is entirely repulsed. There
     is no more rest for her. Either she wooes him in
     person, or chooses a messenger who invites the coveted
     man to a rendezvous. The heathen woman who has to guard
     captured Franks and who has given her heart to one of
     them, hies herself to the dungeon and offers him her
     love. She begs for his love in return and seeks in
     every way to win it. If he resists, she curses him,
     makes his lot less endurable, withholds his food or
     threatens him with death until he is willing to accede
     to her wishes. If this has come to pass she overwhelms
     him with caresses at the first meeting. She is eager to
     have them reciprocated; often the lover is not tender
     enough to please her, then she repeatedly begs for
     kisses. She embraces him delightedly even though he be
     in full armor and in presence of all his companions.
     Girlish shyness and modest backwardness are altogether
     foreign to her nature.... She never has any moral
     scruples.... If he is unwilling to give up his
     campaign, she is satisfied to let him go the next
     morning if he will only marry her.

     "The man is generally described as cold in love.
     References to a knight's desire for a woman's love are
     very scant, and only once do we come across a hero who
     is quite in love. The young knight prefers more serious
     matters; his first desire is to win fame in battle,
     make rich booty.[21] He looks on love as superfluous,
     indeed he is convinced that it incapacitates him from
     what he regards as his proper life-task. He also fears
     the woman's infidelity. If he allows her to persuade
     him to love, he seeks material gain from it; delivery
     from captivity, property, vassals.... The lover is
     often tardy, careless, too deficient in tenderness, so
     that the woman has to chide him and invite his
     caresses. A rendezvous is always brought about only
     through her efforts, and she alone is annoyed if it is
     disturbed too soon. Even when the man desires a woman,
     he hardly appears as a wooer. He knows he is sure of
     the women's favor; they make it easy for him; he can
     have any number of them if he belongs to a noble
     family.... Even when the knight is in love--which is
     very rare--the first advances are nearly always made by
     the woman; it is she who proposes marriage.

     "Marriage as treated in the epics is seldom based on
     love. The woman desires wedlock, because she hopes
     thereby to secure her rights and better her chances of
     protection. It is for this reason that we see her so
     often eagerly endeavoring to secure a promise of


Sufficient evidence has now been adduced to make it clear that the
first of the two questions posed at the outset of this chapter must be
answered in the negative. Coyness is _not_ an innate or universal
trait of femininity, but is often absent, particularly where man's
absorption in war and woman's need of protection prevent its growth
and induce the females to do the courting. This being the case and war
being the normal state of the lower races, our next task is to
ascertain what were the influences that induced woman to adopt the
habit of repelling advances instead of making them. It is one of the
most interesting questions in sexual psychology, which has never been
answered satisfactorily; it and gains additional interest from the
fact that we find among the most ancient and primitive races phenomena
which resemble coyness and have been habitually designated as such. As
we shall see in a moment, this is an abuse of language, confounding
genuine resistance or aversion with coyness.

Chinese maidens often feel so great an aversion to marriage as
practised in their country that they prefer suicide to it. Douglas
says (196) that Chinese women often ask English ladies, "Does your
husband beat you?" and are surprised if answered "No." The gallant
Chinaman calls his wife his "dull thorn," and there are plenty of
reasons apart from Confucian teachings why "for some days before the
date fixed, the bride assumes all the panoply of woe, and weeps and
wails without ceasing." She is about to face the terrible ordeal of
being confronted for the first time with the man who has been chosen
for her, and who may be the ugliest, vilest wretch in the
world--possibly even a leper, such cases being on record. Douglas
(124) reports the case of six girls who committed suicide together to
avoid marriage. There exist in China anti-matrimonial societies of
girls and young widows, the latter doubtless, supplying the experience
that serves as the motive for establishing such associations.

Descending to the lowest stratum of human life as witnessed in
Australia, we find that, as Meyer asserts (11), the bride appears
"generally to go very unwillingly" to the man she has been assigned
to. Lumholtz relates that the man seizes the woman by the wrists and
carries her off "despite her screams, which can be heard till she is a
mile away." "The women," he says, "always make resistance; for they do
not like to leave their tribe, and in many instances they have the
best of reasons for kicking their lovers." What are these reasons? As
all observers testify, they are not allowed any voice in the choice of
their husbands. They are usually bartered by their father or brothers
for other women, and in many if not most cases the husbands assigned
to them are several times their age. Before they are assigned to a
particular man the girls indulge in promiscuous intercourse, whereas
after marriage they are fiercely guarded. They may indeed attempt to
elope with another man more suited to their age, but they do so at the
risk of cruel injury and probable death. The wives have to do all the
drudgery; they get only such food as the husbands do not want, and on
the slightest suspicion of intrigue they are maltreated horribly.
Causes enough surely for their resistance to obligatory marriage. This
resistance is a frank expression of genuine unwillingness, or
aversion, and has nothing in common with real coyness, which signifies
the mere _semblance_ of unwillingness on the part of a woman who is at
least _half-willing_. Such expressions as Goldsmith's "the coy maid,
half willing to be pressed," and Dryden's

     When the kind nymph would coyness feign,
     And hides but to be found again,

indicate the nature of true coyness better than any definitions. There
are no "coy looks," no "feigning" in the actions of an Australian girl
about to be married to a man who is old enough to be her grandfather.
The "cold disdain" is real, not assumed, and there is no "dissemblance
of feminine affection."


The same reasoning applies to the customs attending wife-capturing in
general, which has prevailed in all parts of the world and still
prevails in some regions. To take one or two instances of a hundred
that might be cited from books of travel in all parts of the world:
Columbus relates that the Caribs made the capture of women the chief
object of their expeditions. The California Indians worked up their
warlike spirit by chanting a song the substance of which was, "let us
go and carry off girls" (Waitz, IV., 242). Savages everywhere have
looked upon women as legitimate spoils of war, desirable as concubines
and drudges. Now even primitive women are attached to their homes and
relatives, and it is needless to say their resistance to the enemy who
has just slain their father and brothers and is about to carry them
off to slavery, is genuine, and has no more trace of coyness in it
than the actions of an American girl who resists the efforts of
unknown kidnappers to drag her from her home.

But besides real capture of women there has existed, and still exists
in many countries, what is known as sham-capture--a custom which has
puzzled anthropologists sorely. Herbert Spencer illustrates it
(_P.S._, I., § 288) by citing Crantz, who says, concerning the
Eskimos, that when a damsel is asked in marriage, she

     "directly falls into the greatest apparent
     consternation, and runs out of doors tearing her hair;
     for single women always affect the utmost bashfulness
     and aversion to any proposal of marriage, lest they
     should lose their reputation for modesty."

Spencer also quotes Burckhardt, who describes how the bride among
Sinai Arabs defends herself with stones, even though she does not
dislike the lover; "for according to custom, the more she struggles,
bites, kicks, cries, and strikes, the more she is applauded ever after
by her own companions." During the procession to the husband's camp
"decency obliges her to cry and sob most bitterly." Among the
Araucanians of Chili, according to Smith (215) "it is a point of honor
with the bride to resist and struggle, however willing she may be."

While conceding that "the manners of the inferior races do not imply
much coyness," Spencer, nevertheless, thinks "we cannot suppose
coyness to be wholly absent." He holds that in the cases just cited
coyness is responsible for the resistance of the women, and he goes so
far as to make this coyness "an important factor," in accounting for
the custom of marriage by capture which has prevailed among so many
peoples in all parts of the world. Westermarck declares (388) that
this suggestion can scarcely be disproved, and Grosse (105) echoes his
judgment. To me, on the contrary, it seems that these distinguished
sociologists are putting the cart before the horse. They make the
capture a sequence of "coyness," whereas in truth the coyness (if it
may be so called) is a result of capture. The custom of wife capture
can be easily explained without calling in the aid of what we have
seen to be so questionable a thing as primitive female coyness.
Savages capture wives as the most coveted spoils of war. They capture
them, in other instances, because polygamy and female infanticide have
disturbed the equilibrium of the sexes, thus compelling the young men
to seek wives elsewhere than in their own tribes; and the same result
is brought about (in Australia, for instance), by the old men's habit
of appropriating all the young women by a system of exchange, leaving
none for the young men, who, therefore, either have to persuade the
married women to elope--at the risk of their lives--or else are
compelled to steal wives elsewhere. In another very large number of
cases the men stole brides--willing or unwilling--to avoid paying
their parents for them.


Thus the custom of real capture is easily accounted for. What calls
for an explanation is the _sham_ capture and resistance in cases where
both the parents and the bride are perfectly willing. Why should
primitive maidens who, as we have seen, are rather apt than not to
make amorous advances, repel their suitors so violently in these
instances of mock capture? Are they, after all, coy--more coy than
civilized maidens? To answer this question let us look at one of
Spencer's witnesses more carefully. The reason Crantz gives for the
Eskimo women's show of aversion to marriage is that they do it, "lest
they lose their reputation for modesty." Now modesty of any kind is a
quality unknown to Eskimos. Nansen, Kane, Hayes, and other explorers
have testified that the Eskimos of both sexes take off all their
clothes in their warm subterranean homes. Captain Beechey has
described their obscene dances, and it is well-known that they
consider it a duty to lend their wives and daughters to guests. Some
of the native tales collected by Rink (236-37; 405) indicate most
unceremonious modes of courtship and nocturnal frolics, which do not
stop even at incest. To suppose that women so utterly devoid of moral
sensibility could, of their own accord and actuated by modesty and
bashfulness manifest such a coy aversion to marriage that force has to
be resorted to, is manifestly absurd. In attributing their antics to
modesty, Crantz made an error into which so many explorers have
fallen--that of interpreting the actions of savages from the point of
view of civilization--an error more pardonable in an unsophisticated
traveller of the eighteenth century than in a modern sociologist.

If we must therefore reject Herbert Spencer's inference as to the
existence of primitive coyness and its consequences, how are we to
account for the comedy of mock capture? Several writers have tried to
crack the nut. Sutherland (I., 200) holds that sham capture is not a
survival of real capture, but "the festive symbolism of the contrast
in the character of the sexes--courage in the man and shyness in the
woman"--a fantastic suggestion which does not call for discussion,
since, as we know, the normal primitive woman is anything but shy.
Abercromby (I., 454) is another writer who believes that sham capture
is not a survival of real capture, but merely a result of the innate
general desire on the part of the men to display courage--a view which
dodges the one thing that calls for an explanation--the resistance of
the women. Grosse indulges in some curious antics (105-108). First he
asks: "Since real capture is everywhere an exception and is looked on
as punishable, why should the semblance of capture have ever become a
general and approved custom?" Then he asks, with a sneer, why
sociology should be called upon to answer such questions anyhow; and a
moment later he, nevertheless, attempts an answer, on Spencerian
lines. Among inferior races, he remarks, women are usually coveted as
spoils of war. The captured women become the wives or concubines of
the warriors and thus represent, as it were, trophies of their valor.
Is it not, therefore, inevitable that the acquisition of a wife by
force should be looked on, among warlike races, as the most honorable
way of getting her, nay, in course of time, as the only one worthy of
a warrior? But since, he continues, not all the men can get wives in
that way, even among the rudest tribes, these other men consoled
themselves with investing the peaceful home-taking of a bride also
with the show of an honorable capture.

In other words, Grosse declares on one page that it is absurd to
derive approved sham capture from real capture because real capture is
everywhere exceptional only and is always considered punishable; yet
two pages later he argues that sham capture _is_ derived from real
capture because the latter is so honorable! As a matter of fact, among
the lowest races known, wife-stealing is not considered honorable.
Regarding the Australians, Curr states distinctly (I., 108) that it
was not encouraged because it was apt to involve a whole tribe in war
for one man's sake. Among the North American Indians, on the other
hand, where, as we saw in the chapter on Honorable Polygamy, a
wife-stealer is admired by both men and women, sham capture does _not_
prevail. Grosse's argument, therefore, falls to the ground.


Prior to all these writers Sir John Lubbock advanced (98) still
another theory of capture, real and sham. Believing that men once had
all their wives in common, he declares that

     "capture, and capture alone, could originally give a
     man the right to monopolize a woman to the exclusion of
     his fellow-clansmen; and that hence, even after all
     necessity for actual capture had long ceased, the
     symbol remained; capture having, by long habit, come to
     be received as a necessary preliminary to marriage."

This theory has the same shortcoming as the others. While accounting
for the capture, it does not explain the resistance of the women. In
real capture they had real reasons for kicking, biting, and howling,
but why should they continue these antics in cases of sham capture?
Obviously another factor came into play here, which has been strangely
overlooked--parental persuasion or command. Among savages a father
owns his daughter as absolutely as his dog; he can sell or exchange
her at pleasure; in Australia, "swapping" daughters or sisters is the
commonest mode of marriage. Now, stealing brides, or eloping to avoid
having to pay for them, is of frequent occurrence everywhere among
uncivilized races. To protect themselves against such loss of personal
property it must have occurred to parents at an early date that it
would be wise to teach their daughters to resist all suitors until it
has become certain that their intentions are honorable--that is, that
they intend to pay. In course of time such teaching (strengthened by
the girls' pride at being purchased for a large sum) would assume the
form of an inviolable command, having the force of a taboo and, with
the stubbornness peculiar to many social customs, persisting long
after the original reasons have ceased to exist.

In other words, I believe that the peculiar antics of the brides in
cases of sham capture are neither due to innate feminine coyness nor
are they a direct survival of the genuine resistance made in real
capture; but that they are simply a result of parental dictation which
assigns to the bride the rôle she must play in the comedy of
"courtship." I find numerous facts supporting this view, especially in
Reinsberg-Düringsfeld's _Hochzeitsbuch_ and Schroeder's
_Hochzeitsgebräuche der Esten_.

Describing the marriage customs of the Mordvins, Mainow says that the
bridegroom sneaks into the bride's house before daybreak, seizes her
and carries her off to where his companions are waiting with their
wagons. "Etiquette," he adds, "_demands_ she should resist violently
and cry loudly, even if she is entirely in favor of the elopement."
Among the Votyaks girl-stealing (kukem) occurs to this day. If the
father is unwilling or asks too much, while the young folks are
willing, the girl goes to work in the field and the lover carries her
off. _On the way to his house she is cheerful, but when they reach the
lover's house she begins to cry and wail_, whereupon she is locked up
in a cabin that has no window. The father, having found out where she
is, comes and demands payment. If the lover offers too little, the
parent plies his whip on him. Among the Ostyaks such elopements, to
avoid payment, are frequent. Regarding the Esthonians, Schroeder says
(40): "When the intermediary comes, the girl _must_ conceal herself in
some place until she is either found, _with her father's consent_,
or appears of her own accord."

In the old epic "Kalewipoeg," Salme hides in the garret and Linda in
the bath-room, and refuse to come out till after much coaxing and


The words I have italicized indicate the passive rôle played by the
girls, who simply carry out the instructions given to them. The
parents are the stage-managers, and they know very well what they
want--money or brandy. Among the Mordvins, as soon as the suitor and
his friends are seen approaching the bride's house, it is barricaded,
and the defenders ask, "Who are you?" The answer is, "Merchants."
"What do you wish?" "Living goods." "We do not trade!" "We shall take
her by force." A show of force is made, but finally the suitors are
admitted, after paying twenty kopeks. In Little Russia it is customary
to barricade the door of the bride's house with a wheel, but after
offering a bottle of brandy as a "pass" the suitor's party is allowed
to enter.

Among the Esthonians custom _demands_ (Schroeder, 36), that a comedy
like the following be enacted. The intermediary comes to the bride's
house and pretends that he has lost a cow or a lamb, and asks
permission to hunt for it. The girl's relatives at first stubbornly
deny having any knowledge of its whereabouts, but finally they allow
the suitors to search, and the bride is usually found without much
delay. In Western Prussia (Berent district), after the bridegroom has
made his terms with the bride and her parents, he comes to their house
and says: "We were out hunting and saw a wounded deer run into this
house. May we follow its tracks?" Permission is granted, whereupon the
men start in pursuit of the bride, who has hidden away with the other
village maidens. At last the "hound"--one of the bridegroom's
companions--finds her and brings her to the lover.

Similar customs have prevailed in parts of Russia, Roumania, Servia,
Sardinia, Hungary, and elsewhere. In Old Finland the comedy continues
even after the nuptial knot has been tied. The bridal couple return
each to their home. Soon the groom appears at the bride's house and
demands to be admitted. Her father refuses to let him in. A "pass" is
thereupon produced and read, and this, combined with a few presents,
finally secures admission. In some districts the bride remains
invisible even during the wedding-dinner, and it is "good form" for
her to let the guests wait as long as possible, and not to appear
until after considerable coaxing by her mother. When a Votyak
bridegroom comes after the bride on the wedding-day she is denied to
him three times. After that she is searched for, dragged from her
hiding-place, and her face covered with a cloth, while she screams and
struggles. Then she is carried to the yard, placed on a blanket with
her face down, and the bridegroom belabors her with a stick on a
pillow which has been tied on her back. After that she becomes
obedient and amiable. A Mordvin bride must try to escape from the
wagon on the way to the church. In Old Finland the bride was
barricaded in her house even after the wedding, and the Island Swedes
have the same custom. This burlesque of bridal resistance after
marriage occurs also among the wild tribes of India. "After remaining
with her husband for ten days only," writes Dalton (192), "it is _the
correct thing_ for the wife to run away from him, and tell all her
friends that she loves him not and will see him no more." The
husband's duty is to seek her eagerly.

     "I have seen a young wife thus found and claimed, and borne
     away, screeching and struggling in the arms of her husband,
     from the midst of a crowded bazaar. No one interferes on
     these occasions."

More than enough has now been said to prove that in cases of sham
capture the girls simply follow their village customs blindly. Left to
themselves they might act very differently, but as it is, all the
girls in each district _must_ do the same thing, however silly. About
the real feelings of the girls these comedies tell us nothing
whatever. With coyness--that is, a woman's concealment of her feelings
toward a man she likes--these actions have no more to do than the man
in the moon has with anthropology. Least of all do they tell us
anything about love, for the girls must all act alike, whether they
favor a man or not. Regarding the absence of love we have, moreover,
the direct testimony of Dr. F. Kreutzwald (Schroeder, 233). That
marriages are made in heaven is, he declares, true in a certain sense,
so far as the Esthonians are concerned; for "the parties concerned
usually play a passive rôle.... Love is not one of the requisites, it
is an unknown phenomenon." Utilitarianism, he adds, is the basis of
their marriages. The suitor tries to ascertain if the girl he wants is
a good worker; to find this out he may even watch her secretly while
she is spinning, thrashing, or combing flax.

     "Most of the men proceed at random, and it is not unusual
     for a suitor who has been refused in one place and another
     to proceed at once to a third or fourth.... Many a
     bridegroom sees his bride for the first time at the ceremony
     of the priestly betrothal, and he cannot therefore be blamed
     for asking: 'Which of these girls is my bride?'"


So far our search for that coyness which is an ingredient of modern
love has been in vain. At the same time it is obvious that since
coyness is widely prevalent at the present day it must have been in
the past of use to women, else it would not have survived and
increased. The question is: how far down in the scale of civilization
do we find traces of it? The literature of the ancient Greeks
indicates that, in a certain phase and among certain classes, it was
known to them. True, the respectable women, being always locked up and
having no choice in the selecting of their partners, had no occasion
for the exercise of any sort of coyness. But the hetairai appear to
have understood the advantages of assumed disdain or indifference in
making a coveted man more eager in his wooing. In the fifteenth of
Lucian's [Greek: Etairikoi dialogoi] we read about a wanton who locked
her door to her lover because he had refused to pay her two talents
for the privilege of exclusive possession. In other cases, the poets
still feel called upon to teach these women how to make men submissive
by withholding caresses from them. Thus in Lucian, Pythias exclaims:

     "To tell the truth, dear Joessa, you yourself spoiled
     him with your excessive love, which you even allowed
     him to notice. You should not have made so much of him:
     men, when they discover that, easily become
     overweening. Do not weep, poor girl! Follow my advice
     and keep your door locked once or twice when he tries
     to see you again. You will find that that will make him
     flame up again and become frantic with love and

In the third book of his treatise on the Art of Love, Ovid advises
women (of the same class) how to win men. He says, in substance:

     "Do not answer his letters too soon; all delay inflames
     the lover, provided it does not last too long.... What
     is too readily granted does not long retain love. Mix
     with the pleasure you give mortifying refusals, make
     him wait in your doorway; let him bewail the 'cruel
     door;' let him beg humbly, or else get angry and
     threaten. Sweet things cloy, tonics are bitter."


Feigned unwillingness or indifference in obedience to such advice may
perhaps be called coyness, but it is only a coarse primitive phase of
that attitude, based on sordid, mercenary motives, whereas true modern
coyness consists in an impulse, grounded in modesty, to conceal
affection. The germs of Greek venal coyness for filthy lucre may be
found as low down as among the Papuan women who, as Bastian notes
(Ploss, I., 460) exact payment in shell-money for their caresses. Of
the Tongans, highest of all Polynesians, Mariner says (Martin, II.,

     "It must not be supposed that these women are always
     easily won; the greatest attentions and fervent
     solicitations are sometimes requisite, even though
     there be no other lover in the way. This happens
     sometimes from a spirit of coquetry, at other times
     from a dislike to the party, etc."

Now coquetry is a cousin of coyness, but in whatever way this Tongan
coquetry may manifest itself (no details are given) it certainly lacks
the regard for modesty and chastity which is essential to modern
coyness; for, as the writer just referred to attests, Tongan girls are
permitted to indulge in free intercourse before marriage, the only
thing liable to censure being a too frequent change of lovers.

That the anxious regard for chastity, modesty, decorum, which cannot
be present in the coquetry of these Tongan women, is one of the
essential ingredients of modern coyness has long been felt by the
poets. After Juliet has made her confession of love which Romeo
overhears in the dark, she apologizes to him because she fears that he
might attribute her easy yielding to light love. Lest he think her too
quickly won she "would have frowned and been perverse, and said him
nay." Then she begs him trust she'll "_prove more true_ than those
that have more cunning to be strange." Wither's "That coy one in the
winning, _proves a true one_ being won," expresses the same sentiment.


Man's esteem for virtues which he does not always practise himself, is
thus responsible, in part at least, for the existence of modern
coyness. Other factors, however, aided its growth, among them man's
fickleness. If a girl did not say nay (when she would rather say yes),
and hold back, hesitate, and delay, the suitor would in many cases
suck the honey from her lips and flit away to another flower.
Cumulative experience of man's sensual selfishness has taught her to
be slow in yielding to his advances. Experience has also taught women
that men are apt to value favors in proportion to the difficulty of
winning them, and the wisest of them have profited by the lesson.
Callimachus wrote, two hundred and fifty years before Christ, that his
love was "versed in pursuing what flies (from it), but flits past what
lies in its mid path"--a conceit which the poets have since echoed a
thousand times. Another very important thing that experience taught
women was that by deferring or withholding their caresses and smiles
they could make the tyrant man humble, generous, and gallant. Girls
who do not throw themselves away on the first man who happens along,
also have an advantage over others who are less fastidious and coy,
and by transmitting their disposition to their daughters they give it
greater vogue. Female coyness prevents too hasty marriages, and the
girls who lack it often live to repent their shortcomings at leisure.
Coyness prolongs the period of courtship and, by keeping the suitor in
suspense and doubt, it develops the imaginative, sentimental side of


Sufficient reasons, these, why coyness should have gradually become a
general attribute of femininity. Nevertheless, it is an artificial
product of imperfect social conditions, and in an ideal world women
would not be called upon to romance about their feelings. As a mark of
modesty, coyness will always have a charm for men, and a woman devoid
of it will never inspire genuine love. But what I have elsewhere
called "spring-chicken coyness"--the disposition of European girls to
hide shyly behind their mammas--as chickens do under a hen at the
sight of a hawk--is losing its charm in face of the frank
confidingness of American girls in the presence of gentlemen; and as
for that phase of coyness which consists in concealing affection for a
man, girls usually manage to circumvent it in a more or less refined
manner. Some girls who are coarse, or have little control of their
feelings, propose bluntly to the men they want. I myself have known
several such cases, but the man always refused. Others have a thousand
subtle ways of betraying themselves without actually "giving
themselves away." A very amusing story of how an ingenious maiden
tries to bring a young man to bay has been told by Anthony Hope.
Dowden calls attention to the fact that it is Juliet "who proposes and
urges on the sudden marriage." Romeo has only spoken of love; it is
she who asks him, if his purpose be marriage, to send her word next
day. In _Troilus and Cressida_ (III., 2), the heroine exclaims:

     But, though I loved you well, I woo'd you not;
     And yet, good faith, I wished myself a man,
     Or that we women had men's privilege
     Of speaking first.

In his _Old Virginia_ (II., 127) John Fiske tells a funny story of how
Parson Camm was wooed. A young friend of his, who had been courting
Miss Betsy Hansford of his parish, asked him to assist him with his
eloquence. The parson did so by citing to the girl texts from the
Bible enjoining matrimony as a duty. But she beat him at his own game,
telling him to take his Bible when he got home and look at 2 Sam. xii.
7, which would explain her obduracy. He did so, and found this: "And
Nathan said to David, _thou art the man._" The parson took the
hint--and the girl.


                    _She never told her love_;
     But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
     Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought;
     And, with a green and yellow melancholy,
     She sat, like Patience on a monument,
     _Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed_?

asks Viola in _As You Like It_. It _was_ love indeed; but only two
phases of it are indicated in the lines quoted--coyness ("She never
told her love") and the mixture of emotions ("smiling at grief"),
which is another characteristic of love. Romantic love is a pendulum
swinging perpetually between hope and despair. A single unkind word or
sign of indifference may make a lover feel the agony of death, while a
smile may raise him from the abyss of despair to heavenly heights of
bliss. As Goethe puts it:

     Himmelhoch jauchzend
     Zum Tode betrübt,
     Glücklich allein
     Ist die Seele die liebt.


When a Marguerite plucks the petals of a marguerite, muttering "he
loves me--he loves me not," her heart flutters in momentary anguish
with every "not," till the next petal soothes it again.

     I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe;
     Under love's heavy burden do I sink,

wails Romeo; and again:

     Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
     O anything, of nothing first create!
     O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
     Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
     Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!

       *       *       *       *       *

     Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
     Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;
     Being vex'd, a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears;
     What is it else? a madness most discreet,
     A choking gall and a preserving sweet.

In commenting on Romeo, who in his love for Rosaline indulges in
emotion for emotion's sake, and "stimulates his fancy with the
sought-out phrases, the curious antitheses of the amorous dialect of
the period," Dowden writes:

     "Mrs. Jameson has noticed that in _All's Well that Ends
     Well_ (I., 180-89), Helena mockingly reproduces this style
     of amorous antithesis. Helena, who lives so effectively in
     the world of fact, is contemptuous toward all unreality and

Now, it is quite true that expressions like "cold fire" and "sick
health" sound unreal and affected to sober minds, and it is also true
that many poets have exercised their emulous ingenuity in inventing
such antitheses just for the fun of the thing and because it has been
the fashion to do so. Nevertheless, with all their artificiality, they
were hinting at an emotional phenomenon which actually exists.
Romantic love is in reality a state of mind in which cold and heat may
and do alternate so rapidly that "cold fire" seems the only proper
expression to apply to such a mixed feeling. It is literally true
that, as Bailey sang, "the sweetest joy, the wildest woe is love;"
literally true that "the sweets of love are washed with tears," as
Carew wrote, or, as H.K. White expressed it, "'Tis painful, though
'tis sweet to love." A man who has actually experienced the feeling of
uncertain love sees nothing unreal or affected in Tennyson's

     The cruel madness of love
     The honey of poisoned flowers,

or in Drayton's

     'Tis nothing to be plagued in hell
     But thus in heaven tormented,

or in Dryden's

     I feed a flame within, which so torments me
     That it both pains my heart, and yet enchants me:
     'Tis such a pleasing smart, and I so love it,
     That I had rather die than once remove it,

or in Juliet's

     Good-night! good-night! parting is such sweet sorrow,
     That I shall say good-night till it be morrow.

This mysterious mixture of moods, constantly maintained through the
alternations of hope and doubt, elation and despair,

     And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
     An undistinguishable throng

as Coleridge puts it; or

     Where hot and cold, where sharp and sweet,
     In all their equipages meet;
     Where pleasures mixed with pains appear,
     Sorrow with joy, and hope with fear

as Swift rhymes it, is thus seen to be one of the essential and most
characteristic ingredients of modern romantic love.


Here, again, the question confronts us, How far down among the strata
of human life can we find traces of this ingredient of love? Do we
find it among the Eskimos, for instance? Nansen relates (II., 317),

     "In the old Greenland days marriage was a simple and
     speedy affair. If a man took a fancy to a girl, he
     merely went to her home or tent, caught her by the hair
     or anything else which offered a hold, and dragged her
     off to his dwelling without further ado."

Nay, in some cases, even this unceremonious "courtship" was
perpetrated by proxy! The details regarding the marriage customs of
lower races already cited in this volume, with the hundreds more to be
given in the following pages, cannot fail to convince the reader that
primitive courtship--where there is any at all--is habitually a
"simple and speedy affair"--not always as simple and speedy as with
Nansen's Greenlanders, but too much so to allow of the growth and play
of those mixed emotions which agitate modern swains. Fancy the
difference between the African of Yariba who, as Lander tells us (I.,
161), "thinks as little of taking a wife as of cutting an ear of
corn," and the modern lover who suffers the tortures of the inferno
because a certain girl frowns on him, while her smiles may make him so
happy that he would not change places with a king, unless his beloved
were to be queen. Savages cannot experience such extremes of anguish
and rapture, because they have no imagination. It is only when the
imagination comes into play that we can look for the joys and sorrows,
the hopes and fears, that help to make up the sum and substance of
romantic love.


At the same time it would be a great mistake to assume that the
manifestation of mixed moods proves the presence of romantic love.
After all, the alternation of hope and despair which produces those
bitter-sweet paradoxes of the varying and mixed emotions, is one of
the _selfish_ aspects of passion: the lover fears or hopes for
_himself_, not for the other. There is, therefore, no reason why we
should not read of troubled or ecstatic lovers in the poems of the
ancient writers, who, while knowing love only as selfish lust,
nevertheless had sufficient imagination to suffer the agonies of
thwarted purpose and the delights of realized hopes. As a boat-load of
shipwrecked sailors, hungry and thirsty, may be switched from deadly
despair to frantic joy by the approach of a rescuing vessel, so may a
man change his moods who is swayed by what is, next to hunger and
thirst, the most powerful and imperious of all appetites. We must not,
therefore, make the reckless assumption that the Greek and Sanscrit
writers must have known romantic love, because they describe men and
women as being prostrated or elated by strong passion. When Euripides
speaks of love as being both delectable and painful; when Sappho and
Theocritus note the pallor, the loss of sleep, the fears and tears of
lovers; when Achilles Tatius makes his lover exclaim, at sight of
Leucippe: "I was overwhelmed by conflicting feelings: admiration,
astonishment, agitation, shame, assurance;" when King Pururavas, in
the Hindoo drama, _Urvasi_ is tormented by doubts as to whether his
love is reciprocated by the celestial Bayadère (apsara); when, in
_Malati_, a love-glance is said to be "anointed with nectar and
poison;" when the arrows of the Hindoo gods of love are called hard,
though made of flowers; burning, though not in contact with the skin;
voluptuous, though piercing--when we come across such symptoms and
fancies we have no right as yet to infer the existence of romantic
love; for all these things also characterize sensual passion, which is
love only in the sense of _self_-love, whereas, romantic love is
affection for _another_--a distinction which will be made more and
more manifest as we proceed in our discussion of the ingredients of
love, especially the last seven, which are altruistic. It is only when
we find these altruistic ingredients associated with the hopes and
fears and mixed moods that we can speak of romantic love. The symptoms
referred to in this paragraph tell us about selfish longings, selfish
pleasures and selfish pains, but nothing whatever about affection for
the person who is so eagerly coveted.


As long as love was supposed to be an uncompounded emotion and no
distinction was made between appetite and sentiment--that is between
the selfish desire of eroticism and the self-sacrificing ardor of
altruistic affection--it was natural enough that the opinion should
have prevailed that love has been always and everywhere the same,
inasmuch as several of the traits which characterize the modern
passion--stubborn preference for an individual, a desire for exclusive
possession, jealousy toward rivals, coy resistance and the resulting
mixed moods of doubt and hope--were apparently in existence in earlier
and lower stages of human development. We have now seen, however, that
these indications are deceptive, for the reason that lust as well as
love can be fastidious in choice, insistent on a monopoly, and jealous
of rivals; that coyness may spring from purely mercenary motives, and
that the mixed moods of hope and despair may disquiet or delight men
and women who know love only as a carnal appetite. We now take up our
sixth ingredient--Hyperbole--which has done more than any other to
confuse the minds of scholars as regards the antiquity of romantic
love, for the reason that it presents the passion of the ancients in
its most poetic and romantic aspects.


Amorous hyperbole may be defined as obvious exaggeration in praising
the charms of a beloved girl or youth; Shakspere speaks of
"exclamations hyperbolical ... praises sauced with lies." Such
"praises sauced with lies" abound in the verse and prose of Greek and
Roman as well as Sanscrit and other Oriental writers, and they assume
as diverse forms as in modern erotic literature. The commonest is that
in which a girl's complexion is compared to lilies and roses. The
Cyclops in Theocritus tells Galatea she is "whiter than milk ...
brighter than a bunch of hard grapes." The mistress of Propertius has
a complexion white as lilies; her cheeks remind him of "rose leaves
swimming on milk."

     Lilia non domina sunt magis alba mea;
     Ut Moeotica nix minio si certet Eboro,
     Utque rosae puro lacte natant folia.
                                       (II., 2.)

Achilles Tatius wrote that the beauty of Leucippe's countenance

     "might vie with the flowers of the meadow; the narcissus was
     resplendent in her general complexion, the rose blushed upon
     her cheek, the dark hue of the violet sparkled in her eyes,
     her ringlets curled more closely than do the clusters of the
     ivy--her face, therefore, was a reflex of the meadows."

The Persian Hafiz declares that "the rose lost its color at sight of
her cheeks and the jasmines silver bud turned pale." A beauty in the
_Arabian Nights_, however, turns the tables on the flowers. "Who dares
to liken me to a rose?" she exclaims.

     "Who is not ashamed to declare that my bosom is as lovely as
     the fruit of the pomegranate-tree? By my beauty and grace!
     by my eyes and black hair, I swear that any man who repeats
     such comparison shall be banished from my presence and
     killed by the separation; for if he finds my figure in the
     ban-tree and my cheeks in the rose, what then does he seek
     in me?"

This girl spoke more profoundly than she knew. Flowers are beautiful
things, but a spot red as a rose on a cheek would suggest the hectic
flush of fever, and if a girl's complexion were as white as a lily she
would be shunned as a leper. In hyperbole the step between the sublime
and the ridiculous is often a very short one; yet the rose and lily
simile is perpetrated by erotic poets to this day.


The eyes are subjected to similar treatment, as in Lodge's lines

     Her eyes are sapphires set in snow
     Resembling heaven by every wink.

Thomas Hood's Ruth had eyes whose "long lashes veiled a light that had
else been all too bright." Heine saw in the blue eyes of his beloved
the gates of heaven. Shakspere and Fletcher have:

     And those eyes, the break of day,
     Lights that do mislead the morn!

When Romeo exclaims:

     Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
     Having some business, do entreat her eyes
     To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
     ... her eyes in heaven
     Would through the airy region stream so bright
     That birds would sing and think it were not night,

he excels, both in fancy and in exaggeration, all the ancient poets;
but it was they who began the practice of likening eyes to bright
lights. Ovid declares (_Met._, I., 499) that Daphne's eyes shone with
a fire like that of the stars, and this has been a favorite comparison
at all times. Tibullus assures us (IV., 2) that "when Cupid wishes to
inflame the gods, he lights his torches at Sulpicia's eyes." In the
Hindoo drama _Malati and Madhava_, the writer commits the extravagance
of making Madhava declare that the white of his mistresses eyes
suffuses him as with a bath of milk!

Theocritus, Tibullus ("candor erat, qualem praefert Latonia Luna"),
Hafiz, and other Greek, Roman, and Oriental poets are fond of
comparing a girl's face or skin to the splendors of the moon, and even
the sun is none too bright to suggest her complexion. In the _Arabian
Nights_ we read: "If I look upon the heaven methinks I see the sun
fallen down to shine below, and thee whom I desire to shine in his
place." A girl may, indeed, be superior to sun and moon, as we see in
the same book: "The moon has only a few of her charms; the sun tried
to vie with her but failed. Where has the sun hips like those of the
queen of my heart?" An unanswerable argument, surely!


When William Allingham wrote: "Her hair's the brag of Ireland, so
weighty and so fine," he followed in the wake of a hundred poets, who
had made a girl's tresses the object of amorous hyperbole. Dianeme's
"rich hair which wantons with the love-sick air" is a pretty conceit.
The fanciful notion that a beautiful woman imparts her sweetness to
the air, especially with the fragrance of her hair, occurs frequently
in the poems of Hafiz and other Orientals. In one of these the poet
chides the zephyr for having stolen its sweetness while playing with
the beloved's loose tresses. In another, a youth declares that if he
should die and the fragrance of his beloved's locks were wafted over
his grave, it would bring him back to life. Ben Jonson's famous lines
to Celia:

     I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
       Not so much honoring thee
     As giving it a hope that there
       It could not withered be;
     But thou thereon did'st only breathe
       And sent'st it back to me;
     Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
       Not of itself but thee!

are a free imitation of passages in the Love Letters (Nos. 30 and 31)
of the Greek Philostratus: "Send me back some of the roses on which
you slept. Their natural fragrance will have been increased by that
which you imparted to them." This is a great improvement on the
Persian poets who go into raptures over the fragrant locks of fair
women, not for their inherent sweetness, however, but for the
artificial perfumes used by them, including the disgusting musk! "Is a
caravan laden with musk returning from Khoten?" sings one of these
bards in describing the approach of his mistress.


Besides such direct comparisons of feminine charms to flowers, to sun
and moon and other beautiful objects of nature, amorous hyperbole has
several other ways of expressing itself. The lover longs to be some
article of dress that he might touch the beloved, or a bird that he
might fly to her, or he fancies that all nature is love-sick in
sympathy with him. Romeo's

     See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
     O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
     That I might touch that cheek!

is varied in Heine's poem, where the lover wishes he were a stool for
her feet to rest on, a cushion for her to stick pins in, or a
curl-paper that he might whisper his secrets into her ears; and in
Tennyson's dainty lines:

     It is the miller's daughter,
     And she is grown so dear, so dear,
     That I would be the jewel
     That trembles at her ear;
     For hid in ringlets day and night
     I'd touch her neck so warm and white.

     And I would be the girdle
     About her dainty, dainty waist,
     And her heart would beat against me
     In sorrow and in rest;
     And I should know if it beat right,
     I'd clasp it round so close and tight.

     And I would be the necklace,
     And all day long to fall and rise
     Upon her balmy bosom
     With her laughter or her sighs,
     And I would be so light, so light,
     I scarce should be unclasped at night.

Herein, too, our modern poets were anticipated by the ancients.
Anacreon wishes he were a mirror that he might reflect the image of
his beloved; or the gown she wears every day; or the water that laves
her limbs; or the balm that anoints her body; or the pearl that adorns
her neck; or the cloth that covers her breast; or the shoes that are
trodden by her feet.

The author of an anonymous poem in the Greek _Anthology_ wishes he
were a breath of air that he might be received in the bosom of his
beloved; or a rose to be picked by her hand and fastened on her bosom.
Others wish they were the water in the fountain from which a girl
drinks, or a dolphin to carry her on its back, or the ring she wears.
After the Hindoo Sakuntala has lost her ring in the river the poet
expresses surprise that the ring should have been able to separate
itself from that hand. The Cyclops of Theocritus wishes he had been
born with the gills of a fish so that he might dive into the sea to
visit the nymph Galatea and kiss her hands should her mouth be
refused. One of the goatherds of the same bucolic poet wishes he were
a bee that he might fly to the grotto of Amaryllis. From such fancies
it is but a short step to the "were I a swallow, to her I would fly"
of Heine and other modern poets.


In the ecstasy of his feeling Rosalind's lover wants to have her name
carved on every tree in the forest; but usually the lover assumes that
all things in the forests, plants or animals, sympathize with him even
without having his beloved's name thrust upon them.

     For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
     And, thou away, the very birds are mute;
     Or if they sing, 't is with so dull a cheer,
     That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.

"Why are the roses so pale?" asks Heine.

     "Why are the violets so dumb in the green grass? Why does
     the lark's song seem so sad, and why have the flowers lost
     their fragrance? Why does the sun look down upon the meadows
     so cold and morose, and why is the earth so gray and
     desolate? Why am I ill and melancholy, and why, my love, did
     you leave me?"

In another poem Heine declares:

     "If the flowers knew how deeply my heart is wounded,
     they would weep with me. If the nightingales knew how
     sad I am, they would cheer me with their refreshing
     song. If the golden stars knew my grief, they would
     come down from their heights to whisper consolation to

This phase of amorous hyperbole also was known to the ancient poets.
Theocritus (VII., 74) relates that Daphnis was bewailed by the oaks
that stood on the banks of the river, and Ovid (151) tells us, in
Sappho's epistle to Phaon, that the leafless branches sighed over her
hopeless love and the birds stopped their sweet song. Musaeus felt
that the waters of the Hellespont were still lamenting the fate which
overtook Leander as he swam toward the tower of Hero.


If a romantic love-poem were necessarily a poem of romantic love, the
specimens of amorous hyperbole cited in the preceding pages would
indicate that the ancients knew love as we know it. In reality,
however, there is not, in all the examples cited, the slightest
evidence of genuine love. A passion which is merely sensual may
inspire a gifted poet to the most extravagantly fanciful expressions
of covetous admiration, and in all the cases cited there is nothing
beyond such sensual admiration. An African Harari compares the girl he
likes to "sweet milk fresh from the cow," and considers that coarse
remark a compliment because he knows love only as an appetite. A gypsy
poet compares the shoulders of his beloved to "wheat bread," and a
Turkish poem eulogizes a girl for being like "bread fried in butter."
(Ploss, L, 85, 89.)

The ancient poets had too much taste to reveal their amorous desires
quite so bluntly as an appetite, yet they, too, never went beyond the
confines of self-indulgence. When Propertius says a girl's cheeks are
like roses floating on milk; when Tibullus declares another girl's
eyes are bright enough to light a torch by; when Achilles Tatius makes
his lover exclaim: "Surely you must carry about a bee on your lips,
they are full of honey, your kisses wound"--what is all this except a
revelation that the poet thinks the girl pretty, that her beauty
_gives him pleasure_, and that he tries to express that pleasure by
comparing her to some other object--sun, moon, honey, flowers--that
pleases his senses? Nowhere is there the slightest indication that he
is eager to _give her pleasure_, much less that he would be willing to
sacrifice his own pleasures for her, as a mother, for instance, would
for a child. His hyperboles, in a word, tell us not of love for
another but of a self-love in which the other figures only as a means
to an end, that end being his own gratification.

When Anacreon wishes he were the gown worn by a girl, or the water
that laves her limbs, or the string of pearls around her neck, he does
not indicate the least desire to make _her_ happy, but an eagerness to
please _himself_ by coming in contact with her. The daintiest poetic
conceit cannot conceal this blunt fact. Even the most fanciful of all
forms of amorous hyperbole--that in which the lover imagines that all
nature smiles or weeps with him--what is it but the most colossal
egotism conceivable?

The amorous hyperbole of the ancients is romantic in the sense of
fanciful, fictitious, extravagant, but not in the sense in which I
oppose romantic love to selfish sensual infatuation. There is no
intimation in it of those things that differentiate love from
lust--the mental and moral charms of the women, or the adoration,
sympathy, and affection, of the men. When one of Goethe's characters
says: "My life began at the moment I fell in love with you;" or when
one of Lessing's characters exclaims: "To live apart from her is
inconceivable to me, would be my death"--we still hear the note of
selfishness, but with harmonic overtones that change its quality, the
result of a change in the way of regarding women. Where women are
looked down on as inferiors, as among the ancients, amorous hyperbole
cannot be sincere; it is either nothing but "spruce affectation" or
else an illustration of the power of sensual love. No ancient author
could have written what Emerson wrote in his essay on Love, of the
visitations of a power which

     "made the face of nature radiant with purple light, the
     morning and the night varied enchantments; when a
     single tone of one voice could make the heart bound,
     and the most trivial circumstance associated with one
     form is put in the amber of memory; when he became all
     eye when one was present, and all memory when one was
     gone; when the youth becomes a watcher of windows and
     studious of a glove, a veil, a ribbon, or the wheels of
     a carriage.... When the head boiled all night on the
     pillow with the generous deed it resolved on.... When
     all business seemed an impertinence, and all men and
     women running to and fro in the streets, mere


In the essay "On the Power of Love," to which I have referred in
another place, Lichtenberg bluntly declared he did not believe that
sentimental love could make a sensible adult person so extravagantly
happy or unhappy as the poets would have us think, whereas he was
ready to concede that the sexual appetite may become irresistible.
Schopenhauer, on the contrary, held that sentimental love is the more
powerful of the two passions. However this may be, either is strong
enough to account for the prevalence of amorous hyperbole in
literature to such an extent that, as Bacon remarked, "speaking in a
perpetual hyperbole is comely in nothing but in love." "The major part
of lovers," writes Robert Burton,

     "are carried headlong like so many brute beasts, reason
     counsels one way, thy friends, fortunes, shame, disgrace,
     danger, and an ocean of cares that will certainly follow;
     yet this furious lust precipitates, counterpoiseth, weighs
     down on the other."

Professor Bain, discussing all the human emotions in a volume of 600
pages, declares, regarding love (138), that

     "the excitement at its highest pitch, in the torrent of
     youthful sensations and ungratified desires is probably
     the most furious and elated experience of human

In whatever sense we take this, as referring to sensual or sentimental
love, or a combination of the two, it explains why erotic writers of
all times make such lavish use of superlatives and exaggerations.
Their strong feelings can only be expressed in strong language.
"Beauty inflicts a wound sharper than any arrow," quoth Achilles
Tatius. Meleager declares: "Even the winged Eros in the air became
your prisoner, sweet Timarion, because your eye drew him down;" and in
another place: "the cup is filled with joy because it is allowed to
touch the beautiful lips of Zenophila. Would that she drank my soul in
one draught, pressing firmly her lips on mine" (a passage which
Tennyson imitated in "he once drew with one long kiss my whole soul
through my lips"). "Not stone only, but steel would be melted by
Eros," cried Antipater of Sidon. Burton tells of a cold bath that
suddenly smoked and was very hot when Coelia came into it; and an
anonymous modern poet cries:

     Look yonder, where
     She washes in the lake!
     See while she swims,
     The water from her purer limbs
     New clearness take!

The Persian poet, Saadi, tells the story of a young enamoured Dervish
who knew the whole Koran by heart, but forgot his very alphabet in
presence of the princess. She tried to encourage him, but he only
found tongue to say, "It is strange that with thee present I should
have speech left me;" and having said that he uttered a loud groan and
surrendered his soul up to God.

To lovers nothing seems impossible. They "vow to weep seas, live in
fire, eat rocks, tame tigers," as Troilus knew. Mephistopheles

     So ein verliebter Thor verpufft
     Euch Sonne, Mond und alle Sterne
     Zum Zeitvertreib dem Liebchen in die Luft.

(Your foolish lover squanders sun and moon and all the stars to
entertain his darling for an hour.) Romantic hyperbole is the realism
of love. The lover is blind as to the beloved's faults, and
color-blind as to her merits, seeing them differently from normal
persons and all in a rosy hue. She really seems to him superior to
every one in the world, and he would be ready any moment to join the
ranks of the mediaeval knights who translated amorous hyperbole into
action, challenging every knight to battle unless he acknowledged the
superior beauty of his lady. A great romancer is the lover; he
retouches the negative of his beloved, in his imagination, removes
freckles, moulds the nose, rounds the cheeks, refines the lips, and
adds lustre to the eyes until his ideal is realized and he sees
Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt.

               ... For to be wise and love
     Exceeds man's might; that dwells with gods above.


     I dare not ask a kiss,
       I dare not beg a smile,
     Lest having that or this
       I might grow proud the while.

     Let fools great Cupid's yoke disdain,
       Loving their own wild freedom better,
     Whilst proud of my triumphant chain
       I sit, and court my beauteous fetter.


"There was never proud man thought so absurdly well of himself as the
lover doth of the person beloved," said Bacon; "and therefore it is
well said that it is impossible to love and be wise."

Like everything else in this world, love has its comic side. Nothing
could be more amusing, surely, than the pride some men and women
exhibit at having secured for life a mate whom most persons would not
care to own a day. The idealizing process just described is
responsible for this comedy; and a very useful thing it is, too; for
did not the lover's fancy magnify the merits and minify the faults of
the beloved, the number of marriages would not be so large as it is.
Pride is a great match-maker. "It was a proud night with me," wrote
Walter Scott,

     "when I first found that a pretty young woman could think it
     worth her while to sit and talk with me hour after hour in a
     corner of the ball-room, while all the world were capering
     in our view."

Such an experience was enough to attune the heart-strings to
love. The youth felt flattered, and flattery is the food of love.


Pride explains some of the greatest mysteries of love. "How _could_
that woman have married such a manikin?" is a question one often
hears. Money, rank, opportunity, lack of taste, account for much, but
in many instances it was pride that first opened the heart to love;
that is, pride was the first of the ingredients of love to capitulate,
and the others followed suit. Probably that manikin was the first
masculine being who ever showed her any attentions. "He appreciates
me!" she mused. "I admire his taste--he is not like other men--I like
him--I love him."

The compliment of a proposal touches a girl's pride and may prove the
entering-wedge of love; hence the proverbial folly of accepting a
girl's first refusal as final. And if she accepts, the thought that
she, the most perfect being in the world, prefers him above all men,
inflates his pride to the point of exultation; thenceforth he can talk
and think only in "three pil'd hyperboles." He wants all the world to
know how he has been distinguished. In a Japanese poem translated by
Lafcadio Hearn (_G.B.F._, 38) a lover exclaims:

     I cannot hide in my heart the happy knowledge that fills it;
     Asking each not to tell, I spread the news all round.


To realize fully how important an ingredient in love pride is, we need
only consider the effect of a refusal. Of all the pangs that make up
its agony none is keener than that of wounded pride or vanity. Hence
the same lover who, if successful, wants all the world to know how he
has been distinguished, is equally anxious, in case of a refusal, to
keep it a secret. Schopenhauer went so far as to assert that both in
the pain of unrequited love and the joy of success, vanity is a more
important factor than the thwarting of sensual desires, because only a
psychic disturbance can stir us so deeply.

Shakspere knew that while there are many kinds of pride, the best and
deepest is that which a man feels in his love. Some, he says, glory in
their birth, some in their skill, some in their wealth, some in their
body's force, or their garments, or horses; but

     All these I better in one general best,
       Thy love is better than high birth to me,
     Richer than wealth, prouder than garments' cost,
       Of more delight than hawks and horses be
     And having thee, of all men's pride I boast.
                                              --_Sonnet XCI_.


While amorous pride has also an altruistic aspect in so far as the
lover is proud not only of being chosen but also of another's
perfections, it nevertheless belongs, in the main, in the egoistic
group, and there is therefore no reason why we should not look for it
in the lower stages of erotic evolution. Pride and vanity are feelings
which characterize all grades of human beings from the highest to the
lowest. As regards amorous pride, however, it is obvious that the
conditions for its existence are not favorable among such aboriginals,
_e.g._, as the Australians. What occasion is there for pride on the
part of a man who exchanges his sister or daughter for another man's
sister or daughter, or on the part of the female who is thus
exchanged? An American Indian's pride consists not in having won the
favor of one particular girl, but in having been able to buy or steal
as many women as possible, married or unmarried; and the bride's pride
is proportionate to her lover's prowess in this direction. I need not
add that the pride at being a successful squaw-stealer differs not
only in degree but in kind from the exultation of a white American
lover at the thought that the most beautiful and perfect girl in the
world has chosen him above all men as her sole and exclusive

Gibbs says (I., 197-200) of the Indians of Western Washington and
Northwestern Oregon that they usually seek their wives among other
tribes than their own.

     "It seems to be a matter of pride, in fact, to unite
     the blood of several different ones in their own
     persons. The expression, I am half Snokwalmu, half
     Klikatat, or some similar one, is of every-day
     occurrence. With the chiefs, this is almost always the

This feeling, however, is of a tribal kind, lacking the individuality
of amorous pride. It would approach the latter if a chief won another
chiefs daughter in the face of rivalry and felt elated at this feat.
Such cases doubtless occur among the Indians.

Shooter gives an amusing account of how the African Kaffirs, when a
girl is averse to a marriage, attempt to influence her feelings before
resorting to compulsion.

     "The first step is to speak well of the man in her
     presence; the Kraal conspire to praise him--her mother
     praises him--all the admirers of his cattle praise
     him--he was never so praised before."

If these praises make her feel proud at the thought of marrying such a
man, all is well; if not, she has to suffer the consequences. It is
not likely that this praising practice would prevail were it not
sometimes successful.

If it ever is, we would have here a germ of amorous pride. Others may
be found in Hindoo literature, as in _Malati and Madhava_, where the
intermediary speaks of having dwelt on the lover's merits and rank in
the presence of the heroine, in the hope of influencing her.
"Extolling the lover's merits" is mentioned as one of the ten stages
of love in the Hindoo _ars amandi_.

In Oriental countries in general, where it is difficult or impossible
for young men and women to see one another before the wedding-day, the
praising of candidates by and to intermediaries has been a general
custom. Dr. T. Löbel (9-14) relates that before a Turk reaches the age
of twenty-two his parents look about for a bride for him. They send
out female friends and intermediaries who "praise and exaggerate the
accomplishments of the young man" in houses where they suspect the
presence of eligible girls. These female intermediaries are called
kyz-görüdschü or "girl-seers." Having found a maiden that appears
suitable, they exclaim, "What a lovely girl! She resembles an angel!
What beautiful eyes! True gazelle-eyes! And her hair! Her teeth are
like pearls." When the young man hears the reports of this beauty, he
forthwith falls in love with her, and, although he has never seen her,
declares he "will marry her and no other." A sense of humor is not
given to every man: Dr. Löbel remarks seriously that this disproves
the slanderous assertion so often made that the Turks are incapable of
true love!

In their treatment and estimate of women the ancient Greeks resembled
the modern Turks. The poets joined the philosophers in declaring that
"nature herself," as Becker sums them up (Ill., 315), "assigned to
woman a position far beneath man." As there is little occasion for
pride in having won the favor of so inferior a being, the erotic
literature of the Greeks is naturally not eloquent on this subject.
Such evidence of amorous pride as we find in it, and in Roman poetry,
is usually in connection with mercenary women. The poets, being poor,
had only one way of winning the favor of these wantons: they could
celebrate their charms in verse. This aroused the pride of the
hetairai, and their grateful caresses made the poets proud at having a
means of winning favor more powerful even than money. But with genuine
love these feelings have nothing to do.


In common with ambition and other strong passions, love has the power
of changing a man's character for the time being. One of the speakers
in Plutarch's dialogue on love ([Greek: Erotikos], 17) declares that
every lover becomes generous and magnanimous, though he may have been
niggardly before; but, characteristically enough, it is the love for
boys, not for women, that is referred to. A modern lover is affected
that way by love for women. He feels proud of being distinguished by
the preference of such a girl, and on the principle of _noblesse
oblige_, he tries to become worthy of her. This love makes the
cowardly brave, the weak strong, the dull witty, the prosy poetic, the
slouches tidy. Burton glows eloquent on this subject (Ill., 2),
confounding, as usual, love with lust. Ovid notes that when Polyphemus
courted Galatea the desire to please made him arrange his hair and
beard, using the water as a mirror; wherein the Roman poet shows a
keener sense of the effect of infatuation than his Greek predecessor,
Theocritus, who (Id., XIV.) describes the enamoured Aischines as going
about with beard neglected and hair dishevelled; or than Callimachus,
concerning whose love-story of Acontius and Cydippe Mahaffy says (_G.
L. and T.,_ 239):

     "The pangs of the lover are described just as they are
     described in the case of his [Shakspere's]
     Orlando--dishevelled hair, blackness under the eyes,
     disordered dress, a desire for solitude, and the habit
     of writing the girl's name on every tree--symptoms
     which are perhaps now regarded as natural, and which
     many romantic personages have no doubt imitated because
     they found them in literature, and thought them the
     spontaneous expression of the grief of love, while they
     were really the artificial invention of Callimachus and
     his school, who thus fathered them upon human nature."

Professor Mahaffy overlooks, however, an important distinction which
Shakspere makes. The witty Rosalind declares to Orlando, in her
bantering way, that

     "there is a man haunts the forest, that abuses our
     young plants with carving 'Rosalind' on their barks;
     hangs odes upon hawthorns and elegies on brambles, all,
     forsooth, deifying the name of Rosalind ... _he seems
     to have the quotidian of love upon him_."

And when Orlando claims that he is that man, she replies, "There is
none of my uncle's marks upon you; he taught me to know a man in

Orlando: "What were his marks?"


     "A lean cheek, _which you have not_, a blue eye and sunken,
     _which you have not_ ... a beard neglected, _which you have
     not_ ... Then your hose _should be_ ungartered, your bonnet
     unbanded, your sleeve unbuttoned, your shoe untied, and
     everything about you demonstrating a careless desolation."

Shakspere knew that love makes a man tidy, not untidy, hence Rosalind
fails to find the artificial Greek symptoms of love in Orlando, while
she admits that he carves her name on trees and hangs poems on them;
acts of which lovers are quite capable. In Japan it is a national
custom to hang love-poems on trees.


"Egotism," wrote Schopenhauer

     "is a colossal thing; it overtops the world. For, if every
     individual had the choice between his own destruction and
     that of every other person in the world, I need not say what
     the decision would be in the vast majority of cases."

"Many a man," he declares on another page,[22] "would be capable of
killing another merely to get some fat to smear on his boots." The
grim old pessimist confesses that at first he advanced this opinion as
a hyperbole; but on second thought he doubts if it is an exaggeration
after all. Had he been more familiar with the habits of savages, he
would have been fully justified in this doubt. An Australian has been
known to bait his fish-hook with his own child when no other meat was
at hand; and murders committed for equally trivial and selfish reasons
are every-day affairs among wild tribes.


Egoism manifests itself in a thousand different ways, often in subtle
disguise. Its greatest triumph lies in its having succeeded up to the
present day in masquerading as love. Not only many modern egotists,
but ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Hindoos, Greeks, and Romans,
barbarians and savages, have been credited with love when in reality
they manifested nothing but sexual self-love, the woman in the case
being valued only as an object without which the beloved Ego could not
have its selfish indulgence. By way of example let us take what Pallas
says in his work on Russia (III., 70) of the Samoyedes:

     "The wretched women of this nomadic people are obliged
     not only to do all the house-work, but to take down and
     erect the huts, pack and unpack the sleigh, and at the
     same time perform slavish duties for their husbands,
     who, except on a few amorous evenings, hardly bestow on
     them a look or a pleasant word, while expecting them to
     anticipate all their desires."

The typical shallow observer, whose testimony has done so much to
prevent anthropology from being a science, would conclude, if he
happened to see a Samoyede on one of these "amorous evenings," that he
"loved" his wife, whereas it ought to be clear to the most obtuse that
he loves only himself, caring for his wife merely as a means of
gratifying his selfish appetites. In the preceding pages I endeavored
to show that such a man may exhibit, in his relations to a woman,
individual preference, monopolism, jealousy, hope and despair and
hyperbolic expression of feeling, yet without giving the slightest
indication of love--that is, of affection--for her. It is all egoism,
and egoism is the antipode of love, which is a phase of altruism. Not
that these selfish ingredients are absent in genuine love. Romantic
love embraces both selfish and altruistic elements, but the former are
subdued and overpowered by the latter, and sexual passion is not love
unless the altruistic ingredients are present. It is these altruistic
ingredients that we must now consider, beginning with sympathy, which
is the entering wedge of altruism.


Sympathy means sharing the pains and pleasures of another--feeling the
other's joys and sorrows as if they were our own, and therefore an
eagerness to diminish the other's pains and increase the pleasures.
Does uncivilized man exhibit this feeling? On the contrary, he gloats
over another's anguish, while the other's joys arouse his envy. Pity
for suffering men and animals does not exist in the lower strata of
humanity. Monteiro says (_A. and C._, 134) that the negro

     "has not the slightest idea of mercy, pity, or
     compassion for suffering. A fellow-creature, or animal,
     writhing in pain or torture, is to him a sight highly
     provocative of merriment and enjoyment. I have seen a
     number of blacks at Loanda, men, women, and children,
     stand round, roaring with laughter, at seeing a poor
     mongrel dog that had been run over by a cart, twist and
     roll about in agony on the ground till a white man put
     it out of its misery."

Cozzens relates (129-30) an instance of Indian cruelty which he
witnessed among the Apaches. A mule, with his feet tied, was thrown on
the ground. Thereupon two of these savages advanced and commenced with
knives to cut the meat from the thighs and fleshy parts of the animal
in large chunks, while the poor creature uttered the most terrible
cries. Not till the meat had been cut clean to the bone did they kill
the beast. And this hideous cruelty was inflicted for no other reason
than because meat cut from a live animal "was considered more tender,"
Custer, who knew the Indian well, describes him as "a savage in every
sense of the word; one whose cruel and ferocious nature far exceeds
that of any wild beast of the desert." In the _Jesuit Relations_ (Vol.
XIII., 61) it takes _ten_ pages to describe the tortures inflicted by
the Hurons on a captive. Theodore Roosevelt writes in his _Winning of
the West_ (I., 95):

     "The nature of the wild Indians has not changed. Not
     one man in a hundred, and not a single woman, escapes
     torments which a civilized man cannot so much as look
     another in the face and speak of. Impalement on charred
     stakes, finger-nails split off backwards, finger-joints
     chewed off, eyes burned out--these tortures can be
     mentioned, but there are others, equally normal and
     customary, which cannot even be hinted at, especially
     when women are the victims."

In his famous book, _The Jesuits in North America_, the historian
Parkman gives many harrowing details of Indian cruelty toward
prisoners; harmless women and children being subjected to the same
fiendish tortures as the men. On one occasion he relates of the
Iroquois (285) that

     "they planted stakes in the bark houses of St. Ignace,
     and bound to them those of their prisoners whom they
     meant to sacrifice, male and female, from old age to
     infancy, husbands, mothers, and children, side by side.
     Then, as they retreated, they set the town on fire, and
     laughed with savage glee at the shrieks of anguish that
     rose from the blazing dwellings."

On page 248 he relates another typical instance of Iroquois cruelty.
Among their prisoners

     "were three women, of whom the narrator was one, who
     had each a child of a few weeks or months old. At the
     first halt, their captors took the infants from them,
     tied them to wooden spits, placed them to die slowly
     before a fire, and feasted on them before the eyes of
     the agonized mothers, whose shrieks, supplications, and
     frantic efforts to break the cords that bound them were
     met with mockery and laughter."

Later on all the prisoners were subjected to further tortures

     "designed to cause all possible suffering without
     touching life. It consisted in blows with sticks and
     cudgels, gashing their limbs with knives, cutting off
     their fingers with clamshells, scorching them with
     firebrands, and other indescribable tortures."

They cut off the breasts of one of the women and compelled her to eat
them. Then all the women were stripped naked, and forced to dance to
the singing of the male prisoners, amid the applause and laughter of
the crowd.

If anyone in this hostile crowd had shown the slightest sympathy with
the victims of this satanic cruelty, he would have been laughed at and
insulted; for to the American Indians ferocity was a virtue, while
"pity was a cowardly weakness at which their pride revolted." They
were deliberately trained to cruelty from infancy, children being
taught to break the legs of animals and otherwise to torture them. Nor
were the women less ferocious than the men; indeed, when it came to
torturing prisoners, the squaws often led the men. In the face of such
facts, it seems almost like mockery to ask if these Indians were
capable of falling in love. Could a Huron to whom cruelty was a
virtue, a duty, and whose chief delight was the torture of men and
women or animals, have harbored in his mind such a delicate,
altruistic sentiment as romantic love, based on sympathy with
another's joys and sorrows? You might as well expect a tiger to make
romantic love to the Bengal maiden he has carried into the jungle for
his supper. Cruelty is not incompatible with appetite, but it is a
fatal obstacle to love based on affection. Facts prove this natural
inference. The Iroquois girls were coarse wantons who indulged in free
lust before marriage, and for whom the men felt such passion as is
possible under the circumstances.

The absurdity of the claim that these cruel Indians felt love is made
more glaringly obvious if we take a case nearer home; imagining a
neighbor guilty of torturing harmless captive women with the obscene
cruelty of the Indians, and yet attributing to him a capacity for
refined love! The Indians would honor such a man as a colleague and
hero; we should send him to the penitentiary, the gallows, or the


It would be foolish to retort that the savage's delight in the torture
of others is manifested only in the case of his enemies, for that is
not true; and where he does not directly exult over the sufferings of
others, he still shows his lack of sympathy by his indifference to
those sufferings, often even in the case of his nearest relatives. The
African explorer Andersson (_O.R._, 156) describes the
"heart-rendering sorrow--at least outwardly," of a Damara woman whose
husband had been killed by a rhinoceros, and who wailed in a most
melancholy way:

     "I heartily sympathized with her, and I am sure I was
     the only person present of all the members assembled
     ... who at all felt for her lonely condition. Many a
     laugh was heard, but no one looked sad. No one asked or
     cared about the man, but each and all made anxious
     inquiries after the rhinoceros--such is the life of
     barbarians. Oh, ye sentimentalists of the Rousseau
     school--for some such still remain--witness what I have
     witnessed, and do witness daily, and you will soon
     cease to envy and praise the life of the savages."

     "A sick person," writes Galton (190), "meets with no
     compassion; he is pushed out of his hut by his
     relations away from the fire into the cold; they do all
     they can to expedite his death, and when he appears to
     be dying, they heap oxhides over him till he is
     suffocated. Very few Damaras die a natural death."

In his book on the Indian Tribes of Guiana (151, 225) the Rev. W.H.
Brett gives two typical instances of the lack of sympathy in the New
World. The first is that of a poor young girl who was dreadfully burnt
by lying in a hammock when it caught fire:

     "She seemed a very meek and patient child, and her look of
     gratitude for our sympathy was most affecting. Her friends,
     however, took no trouble about her, and she probably died
     soon after."

The second case is that of an Arawak boy who, during a canoe voyage,
was seized with cholera. The Indians simply cast him on the edge of
the shore, to be drowned by the rising tide.

Going to the other end of the continent we find Le Jeune writing of
the Canadian Indians (in the _Jesuit Relations_, VI., 245): "These
people are very little moved by compassion. They give the sick food
and drink, but otherwise show no regard for them." In the second
volume of the _Relations_ (15) the missionary writer tells of a sick
girl of nine, reduced to skin and bone. He asked the permission of the
parents to baptize her, and they answered that he might take her and
keep her, "for to them she was no better than a dead dog." And again
(93) we read that in case of illness "they soon abandon those whose
recovery is deemed hopeless."

Crossing the Continent to California we find in Powers (118) a
pathetic account of the lack of filial piety, or sympathy with old
age, which, he says, is peculiar to Indians in general. After a man
has ceased to be useful as a warrior, though he may have been a hero
of a hundred battles, he is compelled to go with his sons into the
forest and bear home on his poor old shoulders the game they have
killed. He totters along behind them "almost crushed to earth beneath
a burden which their unencumbered strength is greatly more able to
support, but they touch it not with so much as one of their fingers."


"The Gallinomeros kill their aged parents in a most coldblooded
manner," says Bancroft (I., 390), and this custom, too, prevails on
both sides of the Continent. The Canadians, according to Lalemant
(_Jesuit Relations_, IV., 199),

     "kill their fathers and mothers when they are so old that
     they can walk no longer, thinking that they are thus doing
     them a good service; for otherwise they would be compelled
     to die of hunger, as they have become unable to follow
     others when they change their location."

Henry Norman, in his book on the Far East, explains (553) why so few
deaf, blind, and idiots are found among savages: they are destroyed or
left to perish. Sutherland, in studying the custom of killing the aged
and diseased, or leaving them to die of exposure, found express
testimony to the prevalence of this loveless habit in twenty-eight
different races of savages, and found it denied of only one. Lewis and
Clarke give a list of Indian tribes by whom the aged were abandoned to
starvation (II., Chap. 7), adding:

     "Yet in their villages we saw no want of kindness to the
     aged: on the contrary, probably because in villages the
     means of more abundant subsistence renders such cruelty
     unnecessary, old people appeared to be treated with

But it is obvious that kindness which does not go beyond the point
where it interferes with our own comfort, is not true altruism. If one
of two men who are perishing of thirst in the desert finds a cupful of
water and shares it with the other, he shows sympathy; but if he finds
a whole spring and shares it with the companion, his action does not
deserve that name. It would be superfluous to make this remark were it
not that the sentimentalists are constantly pointing to such sharing
of abundance as evidence of sympathetic kindness. There is a whole
volume of philosophy in Bates's remark (293) concerning Brazilian
Indians: "The good-fellowship of our Cucámas seemed to arise, not from
warm sympathy, but simply from the absence of eager selfishness in
small matters." The Jesuit missionary Le Jeune devotes a whole chapter
(V., 229-31) to such good qualities as he could find among the
Canadian Indians. He is just to the point of generosity, but he is
compelled to end with these words: "And yet I would not dare to assert
that I have seen one act of real moral virtue in a savage. They have
nothing but their own pleasure and satisfaction in view."


Schoolcraft relates a story of an Indian girl who saved her aged
father's life by carrying him on her back to the new camping-place
(_Oneota,_ 88). Now Schoolcraft is not a witness on whom one can rely
safely, and his case could be accepted as an illustration of an
aboriginal trait only if it had been shown that the girl in question
had never been subject to missionary influences. Nevertheless, such an
act of filial devotion may well have occurred on the part of a woman.
It was in a woman's heart that human sympathy was first born
--together with her child. The helpless infant could not have survived
without her sympathetic care, hence there was an important use for
womanly sympathy which caused it to survive and grow, while man,
immersed in wars and selfish struggles, remained hard of heart and
knew not tenderness.

Yet in woman, too, the growth of sympathy was painfully slow. The
practice of infanticide, for selfish reasons, was, as we shall see in
later chapters, horribly prevalent among many of the lower races, and
even where the young were tenderly reared, the feeling toward them was
hardly what we call affection--a conscious, enduring devotion--but a
sort of animal instinct which is shared by tigers and other fierce and
cruel animals, and which endures but a short time. In Agassiz's book
on Brazil we read (373), that the Indians "are cold in their family
affections; and though the mothers are very fond of their babies, they
seem comparatively indifferent to them as they grow up." As an
illustration of this trait Agassiz mentions a sight he witnessed one
day. A child who was to be taken far away to Rio stood on the deck
crying, "while the whole family put off in a canoe, talking and
laughing gaily, without showing him the least sympathy."


Apart from instinctive maternal love, sympathy appears to be as far to
seek in the savage women as in the men. Authorities agree that in
respect of cruelty the squaws even surpass the warriors. Thus Le Jeune
attests (_Jes. Rel._, VI., 245), that among the Canadians the women
were crueler toward captives than the men. In another place (V., 29),
he writes that when prisoners were tortured the women and girls "blew
and drove the flames over in their direction to burn them." In every
Huron town, says Parkman (_Jes. in N.A._, XXXIV.), there were old
squaws who "in vindictiveness, ferocity, and cruelty, far exceeded the
men." The same is asserted of the Comanche women, who "delight in
torturing the male prisoners." Concerning Chippewa war captives,
Keating says (I., 173): "The marriageable women are reduced to
servitude and are treated with great cruelty by the squaws." Among the
Creeks the women even used to pay a premium of tobacco for the
privilege of whipping prisoners of war (Schoolcraft, V., 280). These
are typical instances. In Patagonia, writes Falkner (97), the Indian
women follow their husbands, armed with clubs, sometimes and swords,
and ravage and plunder the houses of everything they can find. Powers
relates that when California Indians get too old to fight they have to
assist the women in their drudgery. Thereupon the women, instead of
setting them a good example by showing sympathy for their weakness,
take their revenge and make them feel their humiliation keenly.
Obviously among these savages, cruelty and ferocity have no sex,
wherefore it would be as useless in one sex as in the other to seek
for that sympathy which is an ingredient and a condition of romantic


From a Canadian Indian to a Greek philosopher it seems a far cry; yet
the transition is easy and natural. To the Indian, as Parkman points
out, "pity was a cowardly weakness," to be sternly repressed as
unworthy of a man. Plato, for his part, wanted to banish poetry from
his ideal republic because it overwhelms our feelings and makes us
give way to sympathies which in real life our pride causes us to
repress and which are "deemed the part of a woman" (_Repub._, X.,
665). As for the special form of sympathy which enters into the nobler
phases of the love between men and women--fusing their hearts and
blending their souls--Plato's inability to appreciate such a thing may
be inferred from the fact that in this same ideal republic he wanted
to abolish the marriage even of individual bodies. Of the marriage of
souls he, like the other Greeks, knew nothing. To him, as to his
countrymen in general, love between man and woman was mere animal
passion, far inferior in nobility and importance to love for boys, or
friendship, or to filial, parental, or brotherly love.

From the point of view of sympathy, the difference between ancient
passion and modern love is admirably revealed in Wagner's
_Tannhäuser_. As I have summed it up elsewhere[23]:

     "Venus shares only the joys of Tannhäuser, while
     Elizabeth is ready to suffer with him. Venus is carnal
     and selfish, Elizabeth affectionate and
     self-sacrificing. Venus degrades, Elizabeth ennobles;
     the depth of her love atones for the shallow, sinful
     infatuation of Tannhäuser. The abandoned Venus
     threatens revenge, the forsaken Elizabeth dies of

There are stories of wifely devotion in Greek literature, but, like
Oriental stories of the same kind (especially in India) they have a
suspicious appearance of having been invented as object-lessons for
wives, to render them more subservient to the selfish wishes of the
husbands. Plutarch counsels a wife to share her husband's joys and
sorrows, laugh when he laughs, weep when he weeps; but he fails to
suggest the virtue of reciprocal sympathy on the husband's part; yet
Plutarch had much higher notions regarding conjugal life than most of
the Greeks. An approximation to the modern ideal is found only when we
consider the curious Greek adoration of boys. Callicratides, in
Lucian's [Greek: Erotes], after expressing his contempt for women and
their ways, contrasts with them the manners of a well-bred youth who
spends his time associating with poets and philosophers, or taking
gymnastic and military exercises. "Who would not like," he continues,

     "to sit opposite such a boy, hear him talk, share his
     labors, walk with him, nurse him in illness, go to sea with
     him, share darkness and chains with him if necessary? Those
     who hated him should be my enemies, those who loved him my
     friends. When he dies, I too should wish to die, and one
     grave should cover us."

Yet even here there is no real sympathy, because there is no altruism.
Callicratides does not say he will die _for_ the other, or that the
other's pleasures are to him more important than his own.[24]


India is generally credited with having known and practised altruism
long before Christ came to preach it. Kalidasa anticipates a modern
idea when he remarks, in _Sakuntala_, that "Among persons who are very
fond of each other, grief shared is grief halved." India, too, is
famed for its monks or penitents, who were bidden to be compassionate
to all living things, to treat strangers hospitably, to bless those
that cursed them (Mann, VI., 48). But in reality the penitents were
actuated by the most selfish of motives; they believed that by obeying
those precepts and undergoing various ascetic practices, they would
get such power that even the gods would dread them; and the Sanscrit
dramas are full of illustrations of the detestably selfish use they
made of the power thus acquired. In _Sakuntala_ we read how a poor
girl's whole life was ruined by the curse hurled at her by one of
these "saints," for the trivial reason that, being absorbed in
thoughts of love, she did not hear his voice and attend to his
personal comforts at once; while _Kausika's Rage_ illustrates the
diabolical cruelty with which another of these saints persecutes a
king and queen because he had been disturbed in his incantations. It
is possible that some of these penitents, living in the forest and
having no other companions, learned to love the animals that came to
see them; but the much-vaunted kindness to animals of the Hindoos in
general is merely a matter of superstition and not an outcome of
sympathy. He has not even a fellow-feeling for suffering human beings.
How far he was from realizing Christ's "blessed are the merciful," may
be inferred from what the Abbé Dubois says:

     "The feelings of commiseration and pity, as far as
     respects the sufferings of others, never enter into his
     heart. He will see an unhappy being perish on the road,
     or even at his own gate, if belonging to another caste;
     and will not stir to help him to a drop of water,
     though it were to save his life."

"To kill a cow," says the same writer (I., 176), "is a crime which the
Hindoo laws punish with death;" and these same Hindoos treat women,
especially widows, with fiendish cruelty. It would be absurd to
suppose that a people who are so pitiless to human beings could be
actuated by sympathy in their devout attitude toward some animals.
Superstition is the spring of their actions. In Dahomey any person who
kills a sacred (non-poisonous) snake is condemned to be buried alive.
In Egypt it was a capital offence to kill an ibis, even accidentally.
What we call lynching seems to have arisen in connection with such

     "The enraged multitude did not wait for the slow
     process of law, but put the offender to death with
     their own hands." At the same time some animals "which
     were deemed divinities in one home, were treated as
     nuisances and destroyed in others." (Kendrick, II.,


If we study the evolution of human sympathy we find that it begins,
not in reference to animals but to human beings. The first stage is a
mother's feeling going out to her child. Next, the family as a whole
is included, and then the tribe. An Australian kills, as a matter of
course, everyone he comes across in the wilderness not belonging to
his tribe. To the present day race hatred, jingoism, and religious
differences obstruct the growth of cosmopolitan sympathy such as
Christ demanded. His religion has done much, however, to widen the
circle of sympathy and to make known its ravishing delights. The
doctrine that it is more blessed to give than to receive is literally
true for those who are of a sympathetic disposition. Parents enjoy the
pleasures of their children as they never did their own egotistic
delights. In various ways sympathy has continued to grow, and at the
present day the most refined and tender men and women include animals
within the range of their pity and affection. We organize societies
for their protection, and we protest against the slaughter of birds
that live on islands, thousands of miles away. Our imagination has
become so sensitive and vivid that it gives us a keen pang to think of
the happy lives of these birds as being ruthlessly cut short and their
young left to die in their nests in the agonies of cruel starvation.
If we compare with this state of mind that of the African of whom
Burton wrote in his _Two Trips to Gorilla Land_, that "Cruelty seems
to be with him a necessity of life, and all his highest enjoyments are
connected with causing pain and inflicting death"--we need no other
argument to convince us that a savage cannot possibly feel romantic
love, because that implies a capacity for the tenderest and subtlest
sympathy. I would sooner believe a tiger capable of such love than a
savage, for the tiger practises cruelty unconsciously and accidentally
while in quest of food, whereas the primitive man indulges in cruelty
for cruelty's sake, and for the delight it gives him. We have here one
more illustration of the change and growth of sentiments. Man's
emotions develop as well as his reasoning powers, and one might as
well expect an Australian, who cannot count five, to solve a problem
in trigonometry as to love a woman as we love her.


In romantic love altruism reaches its climax. Turgenieff did not
exaggerate when he said that "it is in a man really in love as if his
personality were eliminated." Genuine love makes a man shed egoism as
a snake sheds its skin. His one thought is: "How can I make her happy
and save her from grief" at whatever cost to his own comfort. Amorous
sympathy implies a complete self-surrender, an exchange of

     My true love hath my heart, and I have his,
     By just exchange one for the other given.

     It is the secret sympathy,
     The silver link, the silken tie,
     Which heart to heart, and mind to mind,
     In body and in soul can bind.

To a woman who wishes to be loved truly and permanently, a sympathetic
disposition is as essential as modesty, and more essential than
beauty. The author of _Love Affairs of Some Famous Men_ has wittily
remarked that "Love at first sight is easy enough; what a girl wants
is a man who can love her when he sees her every day." That, he might
have added, is impossible unless she can enter into another's joys and
sorrows. Many a spark of love kindled at sight of a pretty face and
bright eyes is extinguished after a short acquaintance which reveals a
cold and selfish character. A man feels instinctively that a girl who
is not a sympathetic sweetheart will not be a sympathetic wife and
mother, so he turns his attention elsewhere. Selfishness in a man is
perhaps a degree less offensive, because competition and the struggle
for existence necessarily foster it; yet a man who does not merge his
personality in that of his chosen girl is not truly in love, however
much he may be infatuated. There can be sympathy without love, but no
love without sympathy. It is an essential ingredient, an absolute
test, of romantic love.


Silvius, in _As You Like It_, says that love is "all adoration," and
in _Twelfth Night_, when Olivia asks: "How does he love me?" Viola
answers: "With adorations." Romeo asks: "What shall I swear by?" and
Juliet replies:

                   Do not swear at all;
     Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
     Which is the god of my idolatry,
     And I'll believe thee.


Thus Shakspere knew that love is, as Emerson defined it, the
"deification of persons," and that women adore as well as men. Helena,
in _All's Well that Ends Well_, says of her love for Bertram:

                   Thus, Indian-like
     Religious in mine error, I adore
     The sun that looks upon his worshipper,
     But knows of him no more.

"Shakspere shared with Goethe, Petrarch, Raphael, Dante, Rousseau,
Jean Paul, ... a mystical veneration for the feminine element of
humanity as the higher and more divine." (Dowden, III.) Within the
last few centuries, adoration of femininity has become a sort of
instinct in men, reaching its climax in romantic love. The modern
lover is like a sculptor who takes an ordinary block of marble and
carves a goddess out of it. His belief that his idol is a living
goddess is, of course, an illusion, but the _feeling_ is real, however
fantastic and romantic it may seem. He is so thoroughly convinced of
the incomparable superiority of his chosen divinity that "it is
marvellous to him that all the world does not want her too, and he is
in a panic when he thinks of it," as Charles Dudley Warner puts it.
Ouida speaks of "the graceful hypocrisies of courtship," and no doubt
there are many such; but in romantic love there is no hypocrisy; its
devotion and adoration are absolutely sincere.

The romantic lover adores not only the girl herself but everything
associated with her. This phase of love is poetically delineated in
Goethe's _Werther_:

     "To-day," Werther writes to his friend, "I could not go
     to see Lotta, being unavoidably detained by company.
     What was there to do? I sent my valet to her, merely in
     order to have someone about me who had been near her.
     With what impatience I expected him, with what joy I
     saw him return! I should have liked to seize him by the
     hand and kiss him, had I not been ashamed.

     "There is a legend of a Bononian stone which being
     placed in the sun absorbs his rays and emits them at
     night. In such a light I saw that valet. The knowledge
     that her eyes had rested on his face, his cheeks, the
     buttons and the collar of his coat, made all these
     things valuable, sacred, in my eyes. At that moment I
     would not have exchanged that fellow for a thousand
     dollars, so happy was I in his presence. God forbid
     that you should laugh at this. William, are these
     things phantasms if they make us happy?"

Fielding wrote a poem on a half-penny which a young lady had given to
a beggar, and which the poet redeemed for a half-crown. Sir Richard
Steele wrote to Miss Scurlock:

     "You must give me either a fan, a mask, or a glove you have
     worn, or I cannot live; otherwise you must expect that I'll
     kiss your hand, or, when I next sit by you, steal your

Modern literature is full of such evidences of veneration for the fair
sex. The lover worships the very ground she trod on, and is enraptured
at the thought of breathing the same atmosphere that surrounded her.
To express his adoration he thinks and talks, as we have seen, in
perpetual hyperbole:

     It's a year almost that I have not seen her;
     Oh! last summer green things were greener,
     Brambles fewer, the blue sky bluer.
                                      --_C.G. Rossetti_.


The adoration of women, individually or collectively, is, however, an
entirely modern phenomenon, and is even now very far from being
universal. As Professor Chamberlain has pointed out (345): "Among
ourselves woman-worship nourishes among the well-to-do, but is almost,
if not entirely, absent among the peasantry." Still less would we
expect to find it among the lower races. Primitive times were warlike
times, during which warriors were more important than wives, sons more
useful than daughters. Sons also were needed for ancestor worship,
which was believed to be essential for bliss in a future life. For
these reasons, and because women were weaker and the victims of
natural physical disadvantages, they were despised as vastly inferior
to men, and while a son was welcomed with joy, the birth of a daughter
was bewailed as a calamity, and in many countries she was lucky--or
rather unlucky--if she was allowed to live at all.

A whole volume of the size of this one might be made up of extracts
from the works of explorers and missionaries describing the contempt
for women--frequently coupled with maltreatment--exhibited by the
lower races in all parts of the world. But as the attitude of
Africans, Australians, Polynesians, Americans, and others, is to be
fully described in future chapters, we can limit ourselves here to a
few sample cases taken at random.[25] Jacques and Storm relate (Floss,
II., 423) how one day in a Central African village, the rumor spread
that a goat had been carried off by a crocodile. Everybody ran to and
fro in great excitement until it was ascertained that the victim was
only a woman, whereupon quiet was restored. If an Indian refuses to
quarrel with a squaw or beat her, this is due, as Charlevoix explains
(VI., 44), to the fact that he would consider that as unworthy of a
warrior, as she is too far beneath him. In Tahiti the head of a
husband or father was sacred from a woman's touch. Offerings to the
gods would have been polluted if touched by a woman. In Siam the wife
had to sleep on a lower pillow than her husband's, to remind her of
her inferiority. No woman was allowed to enter the house of a Maori
chief. Among the Samoyedes and Ostyaks a wife was not allowed in any
corner of the tent except her own; after pitching the tent she was
obliged to fumigate it before the men would enter. The Zulus regard
their women "with haughty contempt." Among Mohammedans a woman has a
definite value only in so far as she is related to a husband;
unmarried she will always be despised, and heaven has no room for her.
(Ploss, II., 577-78.) In India the blessing bestowed on girls by
elders and priests is the insulting

     "Mayst thou have eight sons, and may thy husband survive
     thee." "On every occasion the poor girl is made to feel that
     she is an unwelcome guest in the family." (Ramabai
     Saravasti, 13.)

William Jameson Reid, who visited some of the unexplored regions of
Northeastern Thibet gives a graphic description of the hardness and
misery of woman's lot among the Pa-Urgs:

     "Although, owing to the scarcity, a woman is a valuable
     commodity, she is treated with the utmost contempt, and
     her existence is infinitely worse than the very animals
     of her lord and master. Polyandry is generally
     practised, increasing the horror of her position, for
     she is required to be a slave to a number of masters,
     who treat her with the most rigorous harshness and
     brutality. From the day of her birth until her death
     (few Pa-Urg women live to be fifty) her life is one
     protracted period of degradation. She is called upon to
     perform the most menial and degrading of services and
     the entire manual labor of the community, it being
     considered base of a male to engage in other labor than
     that of warfare and the chase....

     "When a child is to be born the mother is driven from
     the village in which she lives, and is compelled to
     take up her abode in some roadside hut or cave in the
     open country, a scanty supply of food, furnished by her
     husbands, being brought to her by the other women of
     the tribe. When the child is born the mother remains
     with it for one or two months, and then leaving it in a
     cave, returns to the village and informs her eldest
     husband of its birth and the place where she has left
     it. If the child is a male, some consideration is shown
     to her; should it be a female, however, her lot is
     frightful, for aside from the severe beating to which
     she is subjected by her husband, she suffers the scorn
     and contumely of the rest of the tribe. If a male
     child, the husband goes to the cave and brings it back
     to the village; if it is of the opposite sex he is left
     to his own volition; sometimes he returns with the
     female infant; as often he ignores it entirely and
     allows it to perish, or may dispose of it to some other
     man as a prospective wife."[26]

In Corea women are so little esteemed that they do not even receive
separate names, and a husband considers it an act of condescension to
speak to his wife. When a young man of the ruling classes marries, he
spends three or four days with his bride, then returns to his
concubine, "in order to prove that he does not care much for the
bride." (Ploss, II., 434.) "The condition of Chinese women is most
pitiable," writes the Abbé Hue:

     "Suffering, privation, contempt, all kinds of misery
     and degradation, seize on her in the cradle, and
     accompany her to the tomb. Her birth is commonly
     regarded as a humiliation and a disgrace to the
     family--an evident sign of the malediction of heaven.
     If she be not immediately suffocated, a girl is
     regarded and treated as a creature radically
     despicable, and scarcely belonging to the human race."

He adds that if a bridegroom dies, the most honorable course for the
bride is to commit suicide. Even the Japanese, so highly civilized in
some respects, look down on women with unfeigned contempt, likening
themselves to heaven and the women to earth. There are ten stations on
the way up the sacred mount Fuji. Formerly no woman was allowed to
climb above the eighth. Professor Basil Hall Chamberlain, of the
University of Tokyo, has a foot-note in his _Things Japanese_ (274) in
which he relates that in the introduction to his translation of the
_Kojiki_ he had drawn attention to the inferior place held by women in
ancient as in modern Japan. Some years afterward six of the chief
literati of the old school translated this introduction into Japanese.
They patted the author on the head for many things, but when they
reached the observation anent the subjection of women, their wrath

     "The subordination of women to men," so ran their
     commentary, "is an extremely correct custom. To think
     the contrary is to harbor European prejudice.... For
     the man to take precedence over the woman is the grand
     law of heaven and earth. To ignore this, and to talk of
     the contrary as barbarous, is absurd."

The way in which these kind, gentle, and pretty women are treated by
the men, Chamberlain says on another page,

     "has hitherto been such as might cause a pang to any
     generous European heart.... At the present moment the
     greatest duchess or marchioness in the land is still
     her husband's drudge. She fetches and carries for him,
     bows down humbly in the hall when my lord sallies forth
     on his walks abroad, waits upon him at meals, may be
     divorced at his good pleasure."

This testimony regarding a nation which in some things--especially
aesthetic culture and general courteousness--surpasses Europe and
America, is of special value, as it shows that love, based on sympathy
with women's joys and sorrows, and adoration of their peculiar
qualities, is everywhere the last flower of civilization, and not, as
the sentimentalists claim, the first. If even the advanced Japanese
are unable to feel romantic love--for you cannot adore what you
egotistically look down on--it is absurd to look for it among
barbarians and savages, such as the Fuegians, who, in times of
necessity, eat their old women, or the Australians, among whom not
many women are allowed to die a natural death, "they being generally
despatched ere they become old and emaciated, that so much good food
may not be lost."[27]

There are some apparent exceptions to the universal contempt for
females even among cannibals. Thus it is known that the Peruvian
Casibos never eat women. It is natural to jump to the conclusion that
this is due to respect for the female sex. It is, however, as Tschudi
shows, assignable to exactly the opposite feeling:

     "All the South American Indians, who still remain under
     the influence of sorcery and empiricism, consider women
     in the light of impure and evil beings, and calculated
     to injure them. Among a few of the less rude nations
     this aversion is apparent in domestic life, in a
     certain unconquerable contempt of females. With the
     anthropophagi the feeling extends, fortunately, to
     their flesh, which is held to be poisonous."

The Caribs had a different reason for making it unlawful to eat women.
"Those who were captured," says P. Martyr, "were kept for breeding, as
we keep fowl, etc," Sir Samuel Baker relates (_A.N._, 240), that among
the Latookas it was considered a disgrace to kill a woman--not,
however, because of any respect felt for the sex, but because of the
scarcity and money value of women.


Equally deceptive are all other apparent exceptions to the customary
contempt for women. While the women of Fiji, Tonga, and other islands
of the Pacific were excluded from all religious worship, and Papuan
females were not even allowed to approach a temple, it is not uncommon
among the inferior races for women to be priestesses. Bosnian relates
(363) that on the African Slave Coast the women who served as
priestesses enjoyed absolute sway over their husbands, who were in the
habit of serving them on their knees. This, however, was contrary to
the general rule, wherefore it is obvious that the homage was not to
the woman as such, but to the priestess. The feeling inspired in such
cases is, moreover, fear rather than respect; the priestess among
savages is a sorceress, usually an old woman whose charms have faded,
and who has no other way of asserting herself than by assuming a
pretence to supernatural powers and making herself feared as a
sorceress. Hysterical persons are believed by savages to be possessed
of spirits, and as women are specially liable to hysteria and to
hallucinations, it was natural that they should be held eligible for
priestly duties. Consequently, if there was any respect involved here
at all, it was for an infirmity, not for a virtue--a result of
superstition, not of appreciation or admiration of special feminine


Dire confusion regarding woman's status has been created in many minds
by three distinct ethnologic phenomena, which are, moreover, often
confounded: (1) kinship and heredity through females; (2) matriarchy,
or woman's rule in the family (domestic); (3) gynaicocracy, or woman's
rule in the tribe (political).

(1) It is a remarkable fact that among many tribes, especially in
Australia, America, and Africa, children are named after their mother,
while rank and property, too, are often inherited in the female line
of descent. Lafitau observed this custom among American Indians more
than a century ago, and in 1861 a Swiss jurist, Bachofen, published a
book in which he tried to prove, with reference to this "kinship
through mothers only," that it indicated that there was a time when
women everywhere ruled over men. A study of ethnologic data shows,
however, that this inference is absolutely unwarranted by the facts.
In Australia, for instance, where children are most commonly named
after their mother's clan, there is no trace of woman's rule over man,
either in the present or the past. The man treats the woman as a
master treats his slaves, and is complete master of her children.
Cunow, an authority on Australian relationships, remarks (136):

     "Nothing could be more perverse than to infer from the
     custom of reasoning kinship through females, that woman
     rules there, and that a father is not master of his
     children. On the contrary, the father regards himself
     everywhere, even in tribes with a female line of
     descent, as the real procreator. He is considered to be
     the one who plants the germ and the woman as merely the
     soil in which it grows. And as the wife belongs to him,
     so does the child that comes from her womb. Therefore
     he claims also those children of his wife concerning
     whom he knows or assumes that he did not beget them;
     for they grew on his soil."

Similarly with the American Indians. Grosse has devoted several pages
(73-80) to show that with the tribes among which kinship through
females prevails woman's position is not in the least better than with
the others. Everywhere woman is bought, obliged to submit to polygamy,
compelled to do the hardest and least honorable work, and often
treated worse than a dog. The same is true of the African tribes among
whom kinship in the female line prevails.

If, therefore, kinship through mothers does not argue female
supremacy, how did that kinship arise? Le Jeune offered a plausible
explanation as long ago as 1632. In the _Jesuit Relations_ (VI., 255),
after describing the immorality of the Indians, he goes on to say:

     "As these people are well aware of this corruption,
     they prefer to take the children of their sisters as
     heirs, rather than their own, or than those of their
     brothers, calling in question the fidelity of their
     wives, and being unable to doubt that these nephews
     come from their own blood. Also among the Hurons--who
     are more licentious than our Montagnais, because they
     are better fed--it is not the child of a captain but
     his sister's son, who succeeds the father."

The same explanation has been advanced by other writers and by the
natives of other countries where kinship through females prevails;[29]
and it doubtless holds true in many cases.

In others the custom of naming children after their mothers is
probably simply a result of the fact that a child is always more
closely associated with the mother than with the father. She brings it
into the world, suckles it, and watches over it; in the primitive
times, even if promiscuity was not prevalent, marriages were of short
duration and divorces frequent, wherefore the male parentage would be
so constantly in doubt that the only feasible thing was to name the
children after their mothers. For our purposes, fortunately, this
knotty problem of the origin of kinship through females, which has
given sociologists so much trouble,[30] does not need to be solved. We
are concerned solely with the question, "Does kinship in the female
line indicate the supremacy of women, or their respectful treatment?"
and that question, as we have seen, must be answered with a most
emphatic No. There is not a single fact to bear out the theory that
man's rule was ever preceded by a period when woman ruled. The lower
we descend, the more absolute and cruelly selfish do we find man's
rule over woman. The stronger sex everywhere reduces the weaker to
practical slavery and holds it in contempt. Primitive woman has not
yet developed these qualities in which her peculiar strength lies, and
if she had, the men would be too coarse to appreciate them.


(2) As we ascend in the scale we find a few cases where women rule or
at least share the rule with the men; but these occur not among
savages but with the lower and higher barbarians, and at the same time
they are, as Grosse remarks (161), "among the scarcest curiosities of
ethnology." The Garos of Assam have women at the head of their clans.
Dyak women are consulted in political matters and have equal rights
with the men. Macassar women in Celebes also are consulted as regards
public affairs, and frequently ascend the throne. A few similar cases
have been noted in Africa, where, _e.g._, the princesses of the
Ashantees domineer over their husbands; but these apply only to the
ruling class, and do not concern the sex as a whole. Some strange
tales of masculine submission in Nicaragua are told by Herrera. But
the best-known instance is that of the Iroquois and Hurons. Their
women, as Lafitau relates (I., 71), owned the land, and the crops,
they decided upon peace or war, took charge of slaves, and made
marriages. The Huron Wyandots had a political council consisting of
four women. The Iroquois Seneca women could chase lazy husbands from
the premises, and could even depose a chief. Yet these cases are not
conclusive as to the real status of the women in the tribe. The facts
cited are, as John Fiske remarks (_Disc. Amer_., I., 68), "not
incompatible with the subjection of women to extreme drudgery and
ill-treatment." Charlevoix, one of the eye-witnesses to these
exceptional privileges granted to some Indian women, declares
expressly that their domination was illusory; that they were, at home,
the slaves of their husbands; that the men despised them thoroughly,
and that the epithet "woman" was an insult.[31] And Morgan, who made
such a thorough study of the Iroquois, declares (322) that "the Indian
regarded woman as the inferior, the dependent, and the servant of man,
and, from nature and habit, she actually considered herself to be so."
The two honorable employments among Indians were war and hunting, and
these were reserved for the men. Other employments were considered
degrading and were therefore gallantly reserved for the women.


Comanche Indians, who treated their squaws with especial contempt,
nevertheless would not hesitate on occasion to submit to the rule of a
female chief (Bancroft, I., 509); and the same is true of other tribes
in America, Africa, etc. (Grosse, 163). In this respect, barbarians do
not differ from civilized races; queenship is a question of blood or
family and tells us nothing whatever about the status of women in
general. As regards the "equal rights" of the Dyak women just referred
to, if they really have them, it is not as women, but as men, that is,
in so far as they have become like men. This we see from what Schwaner
says (I., 161) of the tribes in the Southeast:

     "The women are allowed great privileges and liberties.
     Not infrequently they rule at home and over whole
     tribes with manly power, incite to war, and often
     personally lead the men to battle."

Honors paid to such viragoes are honors to masculinity, not to


Here again the transition from the barbarian to the Greek is easy and
natural. The ancient Greek looked down on women as women. "One man,"
exclaims Iphigenia in Euripides, "is worth more than ten thousand
women." There were, of course, certain virtues that were esteemed in
women, but these, as Becker has said, differed but little from those
required of an obedient slave. It is only in so far as women displayed
masculine qualities that they were held worthy of higher honor. The
heroines of Plutarch's essay on "The Virtues of Women" are women who
are praised for patriotic, soldier-like qualities, and actions. Plato
believed that men who were bad in this life would, on their next
birth, be women. The elevation of women, he held, could be best
accomplished by bringing them up to be like men. But this matter will
be discussed more fully in the chapter on Greece, as will that of the
_adulation_ which was paid to wanton women by Greek and Roman poets,
and which has been often mistaken for _adoration_. George Eliot speaks
of "that adoration which a young man gives to a woman whom he feels to
be greater and better than himself." No Greek ever felt a woman to be
"greater and better than himself," wherefore true adoration--the
deification of persons--was out of the question. But there was no
reason why a Greek or Roman should not have indulged in servile
flattery and hypocritical praise for the selfish purpose of securing
the carnal favors of a mercenarily coy courtesan. He was capable of
adulation but not of adoration, for one cannot adore a slave, a drudge
or a wanton. The author of the _Lover's Lexicon_ claims, indeed, that
"love can and does exist without respect," but that is false.
Infatuation of the senses may exist without respect, but refined,
sentimental love is blighted by the discovery of impurity or
vulgarity. Adoration is essential to true love, and adoration includes


If we must, therefore, conclude that man in primitive and ancient
times was unable to feel that love of which adoration is an essential
ingredient, how is it with women? From the earliest times, have they
not been taught, with club and otherwise, to look up to man as a
superior being, and did not this enable them to adore him with true
love? No, for primitive women, though they might fear or admire man
for his superior power, were too coarse, obscene, ignorant, and
degraded--being as a rule even lower than the men--to be able to share
even a single ingredient of the refined love that we experience. At
the same time it may be said (though it sounds sarcastic) that woman
had a natural advantage over man in being gradually trained to an
attitude of devotion. Just as the care of her infants taught her
sympathy, so the daily inculcated duty of sacrificing herself for her
lord and master fostered the germs of adoration. Consequently we find
at more advanced stages of civilization, like those represented by
India, Greece, and Japan, that whenever we come across a story whose
spirit approaches the modern idea of love, the embodiment of that love
is nearly always a woman. Woman had been taught to worship man while
he still wallowed in the mire of masculine selfishness and despised
her as an inferior. And to the present day, though it is not
considered decorous for young women to reveal their feelings till
after marriage or engagement, they adore their chosen ones:

     For love's insinuating fire they fan
     With sweet ideas of a god like man.

In this respect, as in so many others, woman has led civilization.
Man, too, gradually learned to doff his selfishness, and to respect
and adore women, but it took many centuries to accomplish the change,
which was due largely to the influence of Christ's teachings. As long
as the aggressive masculine virtues alone were respected, feminine
gentleness and pity could not but be despised as virtues of a lower
grade, if virtues at all. But as war became less and less the sole or
chief occupation of the best men, the feminine virtues, and those who
exercised them, claimed and received a larger share of respect.

Christianity emphasized and honored the feminine virtues of patience,
meekness, humility, compassion, gentleness, and thus helped to place
women on a level with man, and in the noblest of moral qualities even
above him. Mariolatry, too, exerted a great influence. The worship of
one immaculate woman gradually taught men to respect and adore other
women, and as a matter of course, it was the lover who found it
easiest to get down on his knees before the girl he worshipped.


One day while lunching at an African foudak, half way between Tangier
and Tetuan, I was led to moralize on the conjugal superiority of
Mohammedan roosters to Mohammedan men. Noticing a fine large cock in
the yard, I threw him a handful of bread-crumbs. He was all alone at
the moment and might have easily gobbled them all up. Instead of doing
such a selfish thing, he loudly summoned his harem with that peculiar
clucking sound which is as unmistakable to fowls as is the word dinner
or the boom of a gong to us. In a few seconds the hens had gathered
and disposed of the bread, leaving not a crumb to their gallant lord
and master. I need not add that the Sultan of a human harem in Morocco
would have behaved very differently under analogous circumstances.


The dictionary makers derive the word gallant from all sorts of roots
in divers languages, meaning gay, brave, festive, proud, lascivious,
and so on. Why not derive if from the Latin _gallus_, rooster? A
rooster combines in himself all the different meanings of the word
gallant. He is showy in appearance, brave, daring, attentive to
females, and, above all, chivalrous, that is, inclined to show
disinterested courtesy to the weaker sex, as we have just seen. In
this last respect, it is true, the rooster stands not alone. It is a
trait of male animals in general to treat their females unselfishly in
regard to feeding and otherwise.


If we now turn to human beings, we have to ascend many strata of
civilization before we come across anything resembling the unselfish
gallantry of the rooster. The Australian savage, when he has speared a
kangaroo, makes his wife cook it, then selects the juiciest cuts for
himself and the other men, leaving the bones to the women and dogs.

Ascending to the much higher Polynesians and American Indians we still
find that the women have to content themselves with what the men
leave. A Hawaiian even considers it a disgrace to eat at the same
place as his wife, or with the same utensils.

What Kowney says (173) of the Nagas of India--"she does everything the
husband will not, and he considers it effeminate to do anything but
fight, hunt, and fish"--is true of the lower races in general. An
African Kaffir, says Wood (73), would consider it beneath his dignity
to as much as lift a basket of rice on the head of even his favorite
wife; he sits calmly on the ground and allows some woman to help his
busy wife. "One of my friends," he continues,

     "when rather new to Kaffirland, happened to look into a
     hut and there saw a stalwart Kaffir sitting and smoking
     his pipe, while the women were hard at work in the sun,
     building huts, carrying timber, and performing all
     kinds of severe labor. Struck with a natural
     indignation at such behavior, he told the smoker to get
     up and work like a man. This idea was too much even for
     the native politeness of the Kaffir, who burst into a
     laugh at so absurd a notion. 'Women work,' said he,
     'men sit in the house and smoke.'"

MacDonald relates (in _Africana_, I., 35) that "a woman always kneels
when she has occasion to talk to a man." Even queens must in some
cases go on their knees before their husbands. (Ratzel, I., 254.)
Caillé gives similar testimony regarding the Waissulo, and Mungo Park
(347) describes the return of one of his companions to the capital of
Dentila, after an absence of three years:

     "As soon as he had seated himself upon a mat, by the
     threshold of his door, a young woman (his intended
     bride) brought a little water in a calabash, and
     kneeling down before him, desired him to wash his
     hands; when he had done this, the girl, with a tear of
     joy sparkling in her eyes, drank the water; this being
     considered as the greatest proof she could possibly
     give him of her fidelity and attachment."

An Eskimo, when building a house, looks on lazily while his women
carry stones "almost heavy enough to break their backs." The ungallant
men not only compel the women to be their drudges, but slyly create a
sentiment that it is disgraceful for a man to assist them. Of the
Patagonian Indians Falkner asserts that the women are so rigidly
"obliged to perform their duty, that their husbands cannot help them
on any occasion, or in the greatest distress, without incurring the
highest ignominy," and this is the general feeling, of which other
illustrations will be given in later chapters. Foolish sentimentalists
have tried to excuse the Indians on the ground that they have no time
to attend to anything but fighting and hunting. But they always make
the squaws do the hard work, whether there be any war and hunting or
not. A white American girl, accustomed to the gallant attentions of
her lover, would not smile on the red Dacota suitor of whom Riggs
writes (205):

     "When the family are abed and asleep, he often visits
     her in her mother's tent, or he finds her out in the
     grove in the day time gathering fuel. She has the load
     of sticks made up, and when she kneels down to take it
     on her back, possibly he takes her hand and helps her
     up and then walks home by her side. Such was the custom
     In the olden time."

Still, there is a germ of gallantry here. The Dacota at least helps to
load his human donkey, while the Kaffir refuses to do even that.

Colonel James Smith, who had been adopted by the Indians, relates (45)
how one day he helped the squaws to hoe corn. They approved of it, but
the old men afterward chid him for degrading himself by hoeing corn
like a squaw. He slyly adds that, as he was never very fond of work,
they had no occasion to scold him again. We read in Schoolcraft (V.,
268) that among the Creeks, during courtship, the young man used to
help the girl hoe the corn in her field, plant her beans and set poles
for them to run upon. But this was not intended as an act of gallant
assistance; it had a symbolic meaning. The running up of the beans on
the poles and the entwining of their vines was "thought emblematical
of their approaching union and bondage." Morgan states expressly in
his classical work on the Iroquois (332) that "no attempts by the
unmarried to please or gratify each other by acts of personal
attention were ever made." In other words the Indians knew not
gallantry in the sense of disinterested courtesy to the weaker
sex--the gallantry which is an essential ingredient of romantic love.

Germs of gallantry may perhaps be found in Borneo where, as St. John
relates (I., 161), a young Dyak may help the girl he wants to marry in
her farm work, carrying home her load of vegetables or wood, or make
her presents of rings, a petticoat, etc. But such a statement must be
interpreted with caution.

The very fact that they make the women do the field work and carry the
wood habitually, shows that the Dyaks are not gallant. Momentary
favors for the sake of securing favors in return, or of arranging an
ephemeral Bornean "marriage," are not acts of disinterested courtesy
to the weaker sex. The Dyaks themselves clearly understand that such
attentions are mere bids for favors. As a missionary cited by Ling
Roth (1., 13.1) remarks:

     "If a woman handed to a man betel-nut and sirah to eat,
     or if a man paid her the smallest attention, such as we
     should term only common politeness, it would be
     sufficient to excuse a jealous husband for striking a

It is the same in India.

     "The politeness, attention, and gallantry which the
     Europeans practise toward the ladies, although often
     proceeding from esteem and respect, are invariably ascribed
     by the Hindoos to a different motive."

(Dubois, I., 271.) Here, as everywhere in former times, woman existed
not for her own sake but for man's convenience, comfort, and pleasure;
why, therefore, should he bother to do anything to please her? In the
_Kaniasoutram_ there is a chapter on the duties of a model wife, in
which she is instructed to do all the work not only at home but in
garden, field, and stable. She must go to bed after her husband and
get up before him. She must try to excel all other wives in faithfully
serving her lord and master. She must not even allow the maid-servant
to wash his feet, but must do it with her own hands. The _Laws of
Manu_ are full of such precepts, most of them amazingly ungallant. The
horrible maltreatment of women in India, which it would be an
unpardonable euphuism to call simply ungallant, will be dwelt on in a
later chapter.

It has been said a thousand times that the best measure of a nation's
civilization is its treatment of women. It would be more accurate to
say that kind, courteous treatment of women is the last and highest
product of civilization. The Greeks and Hindoos had reached a high
level of culture in many respects, yet, judged by their treatment of
women, the Greeks were barbarians and the Hindoos incarnate fiends.
Scholars are sometimes surprisingly reckless in their assumptions.
Thus Hommel (1., 417) declares that woman must have held an honored
position in Babylonia,[32] because in the ancient texts that have come
down to us the words mother and wife always precede the words father
and husband. Yet, as Dubois mentions incidentally, the Brahmin texts
also place the feminine word before the masculine, and the Brahmins
treat women more cruelly than the lowest savages treat them.


I have not been able to find evidence of a gallant, chivalrous,
magnanimous attitude toward women in the records of any ancient
nation, and as romantic love is inconceivable without such an
attitude, and a constant interchange of kindnesses, we may infer from
this alone that these nations were strangers to such love. Professor
Ebers makes a special plea for the Egyptians. Noting the statements of
Herodotus and Diodorus regarding the greater degree of liberty enjoyed
by their women as compared with the Greek, he bases thereon the
inference that in their treatment of women the Egyptians were superior
to all other nations of antiquity. Perhaps they were; it is not
claiming much. But Professor Kendrick notes (I., 46) that although it
may be true that the Egyptian women went to market and carried on
trades while the men remained at home working at the loom, this is
capable of receiving quite a different interpretation from that given
by Ebers. The Egyptians regarded work at the loom more as a matter of
skill than the Greeks did; and if they allowed the women to do the
marketing, that may have been because they preferred to have them
carry the heavy burdens and do the harder work, after the fashion of
savages and barbarians.

If the Egyptians ever did show any respect for women they have
carefully wiped out all traces of it in modern life. To-day,

     "among the lower classes and in rural districts the wife is
     her husband's servant. She works while he smokes and
     gossips. But among the higher classes, too, the woman
     actually stands far below the man. He never chats with her,
     never communicates to her his affairs and cares. Even after
     death she does not rest by his side, but is separated from
     him by a wall." (Ploss, II., 450.)

Polygamy prevails, as in ancient times, and polygamy everywhere
indicates a low position of woman. Ebers comments on the
circumspection shown by the ancient Egyptians in drawing up their
marriage contracts, adding that "in many cases there were even trial
marriages"--a most amazing "even" in view of what he is trying to
prove. A modern lover, as I have said before, would reject the very
idea of such a trial marriage with the utmost scorn and indignation,
because he feels certain that his love is eternal and unalterable.
Time may show that he was mistaken, but that does not affect his
present feeling. That sublime confidence in the eternity of his
passion is one of the hall-marks of romantic love. The Egyptian had it
not. He not only sanctioned degrading trial marriages, but enacted a
barbarous law which enabled a man to divorce any wife at pleasure by
simply pronouncing the words "thou art expelled." In modern Egypt,
says Lane (I., 247-51), there are many men who have had twenty,
thirty, or more wives, and women who have had a dozen or more
husbands. Some take a new wife every month. Thus the Egyptians are
matrimonially on a level with the savage and barbarian North American
Indians, Tasmanians, Samoans, Dyaks, Malayans, Tartars, many negro
tribes, Arabs, etc.


Arabia is commonly supposed to be the country in which chivalry
originated. This belief seems to rest on the fact that the Arabs
spared women in war. But the Australians did the same, and where women
are saved only to be used as slaves or concubines we cannot speak of
chivalry. The Arabs treated their own women well only when they were
able to capture or buy slaves to do the hard work for them; in other
cases their wives were their slaves. To this day, when the family
moves, the husband rides on the camel while the wife trudges along on
foot, loaded down with kitchen utensils, bedding, and her child on
top. If a woman happens to ride on a camel she must get off and walk
if she meets a man, by way of showing her respect for the superior
sex. (Niebuhr, 50.) The birth of a daughter is regarded as a calamity,
mitigated only by the fact that she will bring in some money as a
bride. Marriage is often little more than a farce. Burckhardt knew
Bedouins who, before they were fifty years old, had been married to
more than fifty different women. Chavanne, in his book on the Sahara
(397-401), gives a pathetic picture of the fate of the Arab girls:

     "Usually wedded very young (the marriage of a youth of
     fourteen to a girl of eleven is nothing unusual), the
     girl finds in most cases, after five or six years, that
     her conjugal career is at an end. The husband tires of
     her and sends her back, without cogent reasons, to her
     parents. If there are no parents to return to, she
     abandons herself, in many cases, to the vice of

If not discarded, her fate is none the less deplorable. "While young
she receives much attention, but when her charms begin to fade she
becomes the servant of her husband and of his new wife."

Chavanne gives a glowing description of the ravishing but short-lived
beauty of the Arab girl; also a specimen of the amorous songs
addressed to her while she is young and pretty. She is compared to a
gazelle; to a palm whose fruits grow high up out of reach; she is
equal in value to all Tunis and Algiers, to all the ships on the
ocean, to five hundred steeds and as many camels. Her throat is like a
peach, her eyes wound like arrows. Exaggerations like these abound in
the literature of the Arabs, and are often referred to as proof that
they love as we do. In truth, they indicate nothing beyond selfish,
amorous desires. The proof of unselfish affection lies not in words,
however glowing and flattering, but in kind _actions_; and the actions
of the Arabs toward their women are disgustingly selfish, except
during the few years that they are young and pretty enough to serve as
toys. The Arabs, with all their fine talk, are practically on a level
with the Samoyedes who, as we saw, ignore or maltreat their wives,
"except on an occasional amorous evening"; on a level with the Sioux
Indian, of whom Mrs. Eastman remarks that a girl is to him an object
of contempt and neglect from her birth to her grave, except during the
brief period when he wants her for his wife and may have a doubt of
his success.


A few pages back I cited the testimony of Morgan, who lived many years
among the Indians and studied them with the intelligence of an expert
ethnologist, that "no attempts by the unmarried to please or gratify
each other by acts of personal attention were ever made." From this we
can, once more, make a natural transition from the aboriginal American
to the ancient Greek. The Greek men, says the erudite Becker (III.,
335), "were quite strangers to that considerate, self-sacrificing
courtesy and those minute attentions to women which we commonly call
gallantry," Greek literature and all that we know of Greek life, bear
out this assertion fully. It is true the Alexandrian poets and their
Roman imitators frequently use the language of sentimental gallantry;
they declare themselves the slaves of their mistresses, are eager to
wear chains, to go through fire, to die for them, promising to take
their love to the next world. But all these things are mere "words,
words, words"--adulation the insincerity of which is exposed as soon
as we examine the actions and the motives of these poets, of whom more
will be said in a later chapter. Their flatteries are addressed
invariably to hetairai; they are conceived and written with the
selfish desire to tickle the vanity of these wantons in the hope and
expectation of receiving favors for which the poets, who were usually
poor, were not able to pay in any other way. Thus these poets are
below the Arabs, for these sons of the desert at least address their
flatteries to the girls whom they are eager to marry, whereas the
Greek and Roman poets sought merely to beguile a class of women whose
charms were for sale to anyone. One of these profligate men might
cringe and wail and cajole, to gain the good will of a capricious
courtesan, but he never dreamed of bending his knees to win the honest
love of the maid he took to be his wife (that he might have male
offspring.) Roman love was not romantic, nor was Greek. It was frankly
sensual, and the gallantry of the men was of a kind that made them
erect golden images in public places to honor Phryne and other
prostitutes. In a word, their gallantry was sham gallantry; it was
gallantry not in the sense of polite attentions to women, springing
from unselfish courtesy and esteem, but in the sinister sense of
profligacy and amorous intrigue. There were plenty of gallants, but no
real gallantry.


While it is undoubtedly true that Ovid exercised a greater influence
on mediaeval bards, and through them on modern erotic writers, than
any other ancient poet, and while I still maintain that he anticipated
and depicted some of the imaginative phases of modern love (see my
_R.L.P.B_., 90-92), a more careful study of the nature of gallantry
convinced me that I erred in finding the "morning dawn of romantic
love" in the counsels regarding gallant behavior toward women given in
the pages of Ovid.[33] He does, indeed, advise a lover never to notice
the faults of a woman whose favor he wishes to win, but to compliment
her, on the contrary, on her face, her hair, her tapering fingers, her
pretty foot; to applaud at the circus whatever she applauds; to adjust
her cushion and put the footstool in its place; to keep her cool by
fanning her; and at dinner, when she has put her lips to the wine-cup
to seize the cup and put his lips to the same place. But when Ovid
wrote this, nothing was farther from his mind than what we understand
by gallantry--an eagerness to perform acts of disinterested courtesy
and deference for the purpose of pleasing a respected or adored woman.
His precepts are, on the contrary, grossly utilitarian, being intended
not for a man who wishes to win the heart and hand of an honest girl,
but for a libertine who has no money to buy the favors of a wanton,
and therefore must rely on flatteries and obsequious fawning.

The poet declares expressly that a rich man will not need his _Ars
Amandi_, but that it is written for the poor, who may be able to
overcome the greed of the hetairai by tickling their vanity. He
therefore teaches his readers how to deceive such a girl with false
flattery and sham gallantry. The Roman poet uses the word _domina_,
but this _domina_, nevertheless, is his mistress, not in the sense of
one who dominates his heart and commands his respect and affection,
but of a despised being lower than a concubine, on whom he smiles only
till he has beguiled her. It is the story of the cat and the mouse.


How different this from the modern chivalry which in face of womanhood
makes a gentleman even out of a rough California miner. Joaquin Miller
relates how the presence of even an Indian girl--"a bud that in
another summer would unfold itself wide to the sun," affected the men
in one of the camps. Though she seldom spoke with the miners, yet the
men who lived near her hut dressed more neatly than others, kept their
beards in shape, and shirt-bosoms buttoned up when she passed by:

     "On her face, through the tint of brown, lay the blush
     and flush of maidenhood, the indescribable sacred
     something that makes a maiden holy to every man of a
     manly and chivalrous nature; that makes a man utterly
     unselfish and perfectly content to love and be silent,
     to worship at a distance, as turning to the holy
     shrines of Mecca, to be still and bide his time; caring
     not to possess in the low, coarse way that
     characterizes your common love of to-day, but choosing
     rather to go to battle for her--bearing her in his
     heart through many lands, through storms and death,
     with only a word of hope, a smile, a wave of the hand
     from a wall, a kiss, blown far, as he mounts his steed
     below and plunges into the night. That is love to live
     for. I say the knights of Spain, bloody as they were,
     were a noble and a splendid type of men in their

While the knights of Spain and other parts of mediaeval Europe
doubtless professed sentiments of chivalry like those uttered by
Joaquin Miller, there was as a rule nearly as much sham in their
pretensions as in Ovid's rules for gallant conduct. In the days of
militant chivalry, in the midst of deeds of extravagant homage to
individual ladies, women in general were as much despised and
maltreated as at any other time. "The chivalrous spirit is above all
things a class spirit," as Freeman wrote (V., 482):

     "The good knight is bound to endless fantastic courtesies
     toward men, and still more toward women, of a certain rank;
     he may treat all below that rank with any degree of scorn
     and cruelty."

This is still very far removed from the modern ideal; the knight may
be considered to stand half-way between the boor and the gentleman: he
is polite, at least, to some women, while the gentleman is polite to
all, kind, gentle, sympathetic, without being any the less manly.
Nevertheless there was an advantage in having some conception of
gallantry, a determination and vow to protect widows and orphans, to
respect and honor ladies. Though it was at first only a fashion, with
all the extravagances and follies usual to fashions, it did much good
by creating an ideal for later generations to live up to. From this
point of view even the quixotic pranks of the knights who fought duels
in support of their challenge that no other lady equalled theirs in
beauty, were not without a use. They helped to enforce the fashion of
paying deference to women, and made it a point of honor, thus forcing
many a boor to assume at least the outward semblance and conduct of a
gentleman. The seed sown in this rough and stony soil has slowly
grown, until it has developed into true civilization--a word of which
the last and highest import is civility or disinterested devotion to
the weak and unprotected, especially to women.

In our days chivalry includes compassion for animals too. I have never
read of a more gallant soldier than that colonel who, as related in
_Our Animal Friends_ (May, 1899), while riding in a Western desert at
the head of five hundred horsemen, suddenly made a slight
detour--which all the men had to follow--because in the direct path a
meadow lark was sitting on her nest, her soft brown eyes turned
upward, watching, wondering, fearing. It was a nobler deed than many
of the most gallant actions in battle, for these are often done from
selfish motives--ambition, the hope of promotion--while this deed was
the outcome of pure unselfish sympathy.

     "Five hundred horses had been turned aside, and five hundred
     men, as they bent over the defenceless mother and her brood,
     received a lesson in that broad humanity which is the
     essence of higher life."

To this day there are plenty of ruffians--many of them in fine
clothes--who are strangers to chivalrous feelings toward defenceless
women or animals--men who behave as gentlemen only under compulsion of
public opinion. The encouraging thing is that public opinion has taken
so strong a stand in favor of women; that it has written _Place aux
Dames_ on its shield in such large letters. While the red American
squaw shared with the dogs the bones left by her contemptuous
ungallant husband, the white American woman is served first at table
and gets the choicest morsels; she receives the window-seat in the
cars, the lower berth in the sleeper; she has precedence in society
and wherever she is in her proper place; and when a ship is about to
sink, the captain, if necessary (which is seldom the case), stands
with drawn revolver prepared to shoot any man who would ungallantly
get into a boat before all the women are saved.


This change from the primitive selfishness described in the preceding
pages, this voluntary yielding by man of the place of honor and of the
right of the strongest, is little less than a miracle; it is the
grandest triumph of civilization. Yet there are viragoes who have had
the indecency to call gallantry an "insult to woman." There is indeed
a kind of gallantry--the Ovidian--which is an insult to women; but
true masculine gallantry is woman's chief glory and conquest,
indicating the transformation of the savage's scorn for woman's
physical weakness into courteous deference to her as the nobler, more
virtuous and refined sex. There are some selfish, sour, disappointed
old maids, who, because of their lack of feminine traits, repel men
and receive less than their share of gallant courtesy. But that is
their own fault. Ninety-nine per cent. of all women have a happier lot
to-day than at any previous time in history, and this change is due to
the growth of the disinterested courtesy and sympathy known as
gallantry. At the same time the change is strikingly illustrated in
the status of old maids themselves. No one now despises an unselfish
woman simply because she prefers to remain single; but formerly old
maids were looked on nearly everywhere with a contempt that reached
its climax among the Southern Slavs, who, according to Krauss (Ploss,
II., 491), treated them no better than mangy dogs. No one associated
with them; they were not tolerated in the spinning-room or at the
dances; they were ridiculed and derided; were, in short, regarded as a
disgrace to the family.


To sum up: among the lower races man habitually despises and maltreats
woman, looking on her as a being made, not for her own sake, but for
his comfort and pleasure. Gallantry is unknown. The Australian who
fights for his family shows courage, not gallantry, for he is simply
protecting his private property, and does not otherwise show the
slightest regard for his women. Nor does the early custom of serving
for a wife imply gallantry; for here the suitor serves the parents,
not the maid; he simply adopts a primitive way of paying for a bride.
Sparing women in battle for the purpose of making concubines or slaves
of them is not gallantry. One might as well call a farmer gallant
because, when he kills the young roosters for broilers, he saves the
young hens. He lets these live because he needs eggs. The motive in
both cases is utilitarian and selfish. Ovidian gallantry does not
deserve such a name, because it is nothing but false flattery for the
selfish purpose of beguiling foolish women. Arabic flatteries are of a
superior order because sincere at the time being and addressed to
girls whom the flatterer desires to marry. But this gallantry, too, is
only skin deep. Its motives are sensual and selfish, for as soon as
the girl's physical charm begins to fade she is contemptuously

Our modern gallantry toward women differs radically from all those
attitudes in being unselfish. It is synonymous with true
chivalry--disinterested devotion to those who, while physically
weaker, are considered superior morally and esthetically. It treats
all women with polite deference, and does so not because of a vow or a
code, but because of the natural promptings of a kind, sympathetic
disposition. It treats a woman not as a toper does a whiskey bottle,
applying it to his lips as long as it can intoxicate him with pleasure
and then throwing it away, but cherishes her for supersensual
attributes that survive the ravages of time. To a lover, in
particular, such gallantry is not a duty, but a natural impulse. He
lies awake nights devising plans for pleasing the object of his
devotion. His gallantry is an impulse to sacrifice himself for the
beloved--an instinct so inbred by generations of practice that now
even a child may manifest it. I remember how, when I was six or seven
years old, I once ran out the school-house during recess to pick up
some Missouri hailstones, while others, large as marbles, were falling
about me, threatening to smash my skull. I gave the trophies to a
dark-eyed girl of my age--not with a view to any possible reward, but
simply because I loved her more than all the other girls combined and
wanted to please her.


Black relates in his _Things Chinese_, that after the wedding ceremony

     "the bride tries hard ... to get a piece of her husband's
     dress under her when she sits down, for if she does, it will
     insure her having the upper hand of him, while he tries to
     prevent her and to do the same thing himself."

Similar customs prevail in other parts of the world, as among the
Esthonians. (Schroeder, 234.) After the priest has united the couple
they walk toward the wagon or sleigh, and in doing so each of the two
tries to be first to step on the other's foot, because that will
decide who is to rule at home. Imagine such petty selfishness, such a
disgraceful lack of gallantry, on the very wedding-day! In our own
country, when we hear of a bride objecting to the word "obey" in the
wedding ceremony, we may feel absolutely sure that the marriage is not
a love-match, at least as far as she is concerned. A girl truly in
love with a man laughs at the word, because she feels as if she would
rather be his slave than any other man's queen; and as for the lover,
the bride's promise to "obey" him seems mere folly, for he is
determined she shall always remain the autocratic queen of his heart
and actions. Conjugal disappointments may modify that feeling, to be
sure, but that does not alter the fact that while romantic love
exists, one of its essential ingredients is an impulse of gallant
devotion and deference on both sides--an impulse which on occasion
rises to self-sacrifice, which is simply an extreme phase of


In the very olden time, if we may confide in the ingenious Frank
Stockton, there lived a semi-barbaric king who devised a highly
original way of administering justice, leaving the accused man's fate
practically in his own hands. There was an arena with the king's
throne on one side and galleries for the people all around. On a
signal by the king a door beneath him opened and the accused subject
stepped out into the amphitheatre. Directly opposite the throne were
two doors, exactly alike, and side by side. The person on trial had to
walk to those doors and open either of them. If he opened one, there
sprang out a fierce tiger who immediately tore him to pieces; if the
other, there came forth a beautiful lady, to whom he was forthwith
married. No one ever knew behind which of the doors was the tiger, so
that the audience no more than the prisoner knew whether he was to be
devoured or married.

This semi-barbaric king had a daughter who fell in love with a
handsome young courtier. When the king discovered this love-affair he
cast the youth into prison and had his realm searched for the fiercest
of tigers. The day came when the prisoner had to decide his own fate
in the arena by opening one of the doors. The princess, who was one of
the spectators, had succeeded, with the aid of gold, in discovering
the secret of the doors; she knew from which the tiger, from which the
lady, would issue. She knew, too, who the lady was behind the other
door--one of the loveliest of the damsels of the court--one who had
dared to raise her eyes to her loved one and had thereby aroused her
fiercest jealousy. She had thought the matter over, and was prepared
for action. The king gave the signal, and the courtier appeared. He
had expected the princess to know on which side lay safety for him,
nor was he wrong. To his quick and anxious glance at her, she replied
by a slight, quick movement of her arm to the right. The youth turned,
and without the slightest hesitation opened the door on the right.
Now, "which came out of the opened door--the lady or the tiger?"


With that question Stockton ends his story, and it is generally
supposed that he does not answer it. But he does, on the preceding
page, in these words:

     "Think of it, fair reader, not as if the decision of the
     question depended upon yourself, but upon that hot-blooded,
     semi-barbaric princess, her soul at white heat beneath the
     combined fires of despair and jealousy. She had lost him,
     but who should have him?"

In these words the novelist hints plainly enough that the question was
decided by a sort of dog-in-the-manger jealousy. If the princess could
not have him, certainly her hated rival should never enjoy his love.
The tiger, we may be sure, was behind the door on the right.

In allowing the tiger to devour the courtier, the princess showed that
her love was of the primitive, barbarous type, being in reality
self-love, not other-love. She "loved" the man not for his own sake,
but only as a means of gratifying her desires. If he was lost to
_her_, the tiger might as well dine on him. How differently an
American girl would have acted, under the impulse of romantic love!
Not for a moment could she have tolerated the thought of his dying,
through her fault--the thought of his agony, his shrieks, his blood.
She would have _sacrificed her own happiness instead of her beloved's
life_. The lady would have come out of the door opened by him. Suppose
that, overcome by selfish jealousy, she acted otherwise; and suppose
that an amphitheatre full of cultured men and women witnessed her
deed: would there not be a cry of horror, condemning her as worse than
the tiger, as absolutely incapable of the feeling of true love? And
would not this cry of horror reveal on the part of the spectators an
instinctive perception of the truth which this chapter, this whole
book, is written to enforce, that voluntary self-sacrifice, where
called for, is the supreme, the infallible, test of love?


If we imagine the situation reversed--a man delivering his "beloved"
into the clutches of a tiger rather than to the legitimate caresses of
a rival--our horror at his loveless selfishness would be doubled. Yet
this is the policy habitually followed by savages and barbarians. In
later chapters instances will be given of such wooers killing coveted
girls with their own spears as soon as they find that the rival is the
winner. After what has been said about the absence of unselfish
gallantry among the lower races it would, of course, be useless to
look for instances of altruistic self-sacrifice for a woman's sake,
since such sacrifice implies so much more than gallantry. As for the
Greeks, in all my extensive reading I have come across only one author
who seemingly appreciates the significance of self-sacrifice for a
woman loved. Pausanias, in his _Description of Greece_ (Bk. VII.,
chap. 21), relates this love-story:

     "When Calydon still existed there was among the
     priests of Dionysus one named Coresus, whom love made,
     without any fault of his own, the most wretched of
     mortals. He loved a girl Callirrhoe, but as great as
     his love for her was her hatred of him. When all his
     pleadings and offerings of presents failed to change
     the girl's attitude, he at last prostrated himself
     before the image of Dionysus, imploring his help. The
     god granted the prayers of his priest, for suddenly the
     Calydonians began to lose their senses, like drunkards,
     and to die in fits of madness. They appealed to the
     oracle of Dodona ... which declared that the calamity
     was due to the wrath of the god Dionysus, and that it
     would not cease until Coresus had sacrificed to
     Dionysus either Callirrhoe or anyone else willing to
     die for her. Now when the girl saw no way of escaping,
     she sought refuge with her former educators, but when
     they too refused to receive her, nothing remained for
     her but death. When all the preparations for the
     sacrifice had been made in accordance with the precepts
     of the oracle of Dodona, she was brought to the altar,
     adorned like an animal that is to be sacrificed;
     Coresus, however, whose duty it was to offer the
     sacrifice, let love prevail in place of hate, and slew
     himself instead of Callirrhoe, thus proving by his deed
     that he had been animated by the purest love. But when
     Callirrhoe saw Coresus as a corpse, overcome by pity
     and repentance for her treatment of him, she went and
     drowned herself in the fountain not far from the
     Calydonian harbor, which since that time is known as
     the fountain of Callirrhoe."

If a modern lover, desiring to possess a girl, got her into a
predicament which culminated in the necessity of his either slaying
her with his own hands or killing himself, and did not choose the
latter alternative, we should regard him as more contemptible than the
vilest assassin. To us self-sacrifice in such a case would seem not a
test of love, nor even of honor so much as of common decency, and we
should expect a man to submit to it even if his love of the poor girl
had been a mere infatuation of the senses. However, in view of the
contempt for women, and for love for women, prevalent among the Greeks
in general, we may perhaps discover at least a gleam of better things
in this legend of masculine self-sacrifice.


A closer approximation to our ideal may be found in a story related by
the Persian poet Saadi (358):

     "There was a handsome and well-disposed young man, who
     was embarked in a vessel with a lovely damsel: I have
     read that, sailing on the mighty deep, they fell
     together into a whirlpool: When the pilot came to offer
     him assistance; God forbid that he should perish in
     that distress; he was answering, from the midst of that
     overwhelming vortex, Leave me and take the hand of my
     beloved! The whole world admired him for this speech,
     which, as he was expiring, he was heard to make; learn
     not the tale of love from that faithless wretch who can
     neglect his mistress when exposed to danger. In this
     manner ended the lives of those lovers; listen to what
     has happened, that you may understand; for Saadi knows
     the ways and forms of courtship, as well as the Tazi,
     or modern Arabic, is understood at Baghdad."

How did this Persian poet get such a correct and modern notion about
love into his head? Obviously not from his experiences and
observations at home, for the Persians, as the scholarly Dr. Polak
observes in his classical work on them (I., 206), do not know love in
our sense of the word. The love of which their poets sing has either a
symbolical or an entirely carnal meaning. Girls are married off
without any choice of their own at the early age of twelve or
thirteen; they are regarded as capital and sold for cash, and children
are often engaged in the cradle. When a Persian travels, he leaves his
wife at home and enters into a temporary marriage with other women in
the towns he visits. In rural districts if the traveller is a person
of rank, the mercenary peasants eagerly offer their daughters for such
"marriages." (Hellwald, 439.) Like the Greek poets the Persians show
their contempt for women by always speaking of boy-favorites when
their language rises above the coarsest sensuality. Public opinion
regarding Persian stories and poems has been led astray by the changes
of sex and the expurgations made freely by translators. Burton, whose
version of the _Thousand and One Nights_ was suppressed in England,
wrote _(F.F._, 36), that "about one-fifth is utterly unfit for
translation, and the most sanguine Orientalist would not dare to
render literally more than three-quarters of the remainder."

Where, then, I repeat, did Saadi get that modern European idea of
altruistic self-sacrifice as a test of love? Evidently from Europe by
way of Arabia. His own language indicates this--his suspicious boast
of his knowledge of real love as of one who has just made a strange
discovery, and his coupling it with the knowledge of Arabic. Now it is
well known that ever since the ninth century the Persian mind had been
brought into a contact with the Arabic which became more and more
intimate. The Arabs had a habit of sacrificing their lives in
chivalrous efforts to save the life or honor of maidens whom the enemy
endeavored to kidnap. The Arabs, on their part, were in close contact
with the European minds, and as they helped to originate the
chivalrous spirit in Europe, so they must have been in turn influenced
by the developments of the troubadour spirit which culminated in such
maxims as Montagnogout's declaration that "a true lover desires a
thousand times more the happiness of his beloved than his own." As
Saadi lived in the time of the troubadours--the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries--it was easy for him to get a knowledge of the European
"ways and forms of courtship." In Persia itself there was no courtship
or legitimate lovemaking, for the "lover" hardly ever had met his
bride before the wedding-day. Nevertheless, if we may believe William
Franklin,[35] a Persian woman might command a suitor to spend all day
in front of her house reciting verses in praise of her beauty; and
H.C. Trumbull naïvely cites, as evidence that Orientals love just as
we do, the following story:

     "Morier tells ... of a large painting in a
     pleasure-house in Shiraz, illustrative of the treatment
     of a loyal lover by a heartless coquette, which is one
     of the popular legends of Persia. Sheik Chenan, a
     Persian of the true faith, and a man of learning and
     consequence, fell in love with an Armenian lady of
     great beauty who would not marry him unless he changed
     his religion. To this he agreed. Still she would not
     marry him unless he would drink wine. This scruple also
     he yielded. She resisted still, unless he consented to
     eat pork. With this also he complied. Still she was
     coy, and refused to fulfil her engagement, unless he
     would be contented to drive swine before her. Even this
     condition he accepted. She then told him that she would
     not have him at all, and laughed at him for his pains.
     The picture represents the coquette at her window,
     laughing at Sheik Chenan as he is driving his pigs
     before her."

This story suggests and may have been invented in imitation of the
foolish and capricious tests to which mediaeval dames in Europe put
their quixotic knights. Few of these knights, as I have said elsewhere
_(R.L.P.B._, 100), "were so manly as the one in Schiller's ballad,
who, after fetching his lady's glove from the lion's den, threw it in
her face," to show how his feelings toward her had changed. If the
Persian in Trumbull's story had been manly and refined enough to be
capable of genuine love, his feelings toward a woman who could
wantonly subject him to such persistent insults and degradation, would
have turned into contempt. Ordinary sensual infatuation, on the other
hand, would be quite strong enough and unprincipled enough to lead a
man to sacrifice religion, honor, and self-respect, for a capricious
woman. This kind of self-sacrifice is not a test of true love, for it
is not altruistic. The sheik did not make his sacrifice to benefit the
woman he coveted, but to benefit himself, as he saw no other way of
gratifying his own selfish desires.[36]


Very great importance attaches to this distinction between selfish and
altruistic self-sacrifice. The failure to make this distinction is
perhaps more than anything else responsible for the current belief
that romantic love was known to the ancients. Did not Leander risk and
sacrifice his life _for Hero_, swimming to her at night across the
stormy Hellespont? Gentle reader, he did not. He risked his life for
the purpose of continuing his illicit amours with a priestess of Venus
in a lonely tower. As we shall see in the chapter devoted to Greek
romances, there is in the story told by Musaeus not a single trait
rising above frank sensuality. In his eagerness to gratify his
appetite, Leander risked Hero's life as well as his own. His swimming
across the strait was, moreover, no more than any animal would do to
meet its mate on the other side of a river. It was a romantic thing to
do, but it was no proof of romantic love. Bearing in mind what
Westermarck says (134)--

     "With wild animals sexual desire is not less powerful as an
     incentive to strenuous exertion than hunger and thirst. In
     the rut-time, the males, even of the most cowardly species,
     engage in mortal combats"

--we see that Hero's risking of death for the sake
of his intrigue was not even a mark of exceptional courage; and
regarding the quality and nature of his "love" it tells us nothing


In the Hindoo drama _Malavika and Agnimitra_, Kalidasa represents the
king as seeking an interview with a new flame of his. When his
companion warns him that the queen might surprise them, the king

     When the elephant sees the lotos leaves
     He fears no crocodile.

Lotos leaves being the elephant's favorite food, these lines admirably
sum up the Hindoo idea of risking life for "love"--cupboard love. But
would the elephant risk his life to save the beautiful lotos flowers
from destruction? Foolish question! Was not the lotos created to
gratify the elephant's appetite just as beautiful women were created
to subserve man's desires?

Fighting crocodiles for the sake of the sweet lotos is a
characteristic of primitive "love" in all its various strata. "Nothing
is more certain," writes M'Lean (135), "than that the enamoured
Esquimau will risk life and limb in the pursuit of his object." Women,
he says, are the main cause of all quarrels among the Esquimaux; and
the same is true of the lower races in general. If an Australian wants
to run away with another man's wife, the thought of risking his
life--and hers too--does not restrain him one moment. Ascending to the
Greeks, we may cite Robert Burton's summing up of one of their

     "Thirteen proper young men lost their lives for that
     fair Hipodamia's sake, the daughter of Onomaus, King of
     Elis: when that hard condition was proposed of death or
     victory [in a race], they made no account of it, but
     courageously for love died, till Pelops at last won her
     by a sleight."

What is this but another version of the story of the lotos and the
elephant? The prize was great, and worth the risk. Men risk their
lives daily for gold, and for objects infinitely less attractive to
the senses and the selfish ambitions than a beautiful princess. In the
following, which Burton quotes from Hoedus, the sensual and selfish
basis of all such confronting of death for "love's" sake is laid bare
to the bone:

     "What shall I say of the great dangers they undergo,
     single combats they undertake, how they will venture
     their lives, creep in at windows, gutters, climb over
     walls to come to their sweethearts, and if they be
     surprised, leap out at windows, cast themselves
     headlong down, bruising or breaking their legs or arms,
     and sometimes losing life itself, as Calisto did for
     his lovely Meliboea?"

I have known rich young Americans and Europeans risk their lives over
and over again in such "gallant" adventures, but if I had asked them
if they loved these women, _i.e._, felt such a disinterested affection
for them (like a mother's for her child) that they would have risked
their lives to _benefit them_ when there was _nothing to gain for
themselves_--they would have laughed in my face. Whence we see how
foolish it is to infer from such instances of "gallantry" and
"self-sacrifice" that the ancients knew romantic love in our sense of
the word. It is useless to point to passages like this (again from

     "Polienus, when his mistress Circe did but frown upon
     him, in Petronius, drew his sword, and bade her kill,
     stab, or whip him to death, he would strip himself
     naked and not resist."

Such fine talk occurs in Tibullus and other poets of the time; but
where are the _actions_ corresponding to it? Where do we read of these
Romans and Greeks ever braving the crocodile for the sake of
preserving the purity of the lotos herself? Or of sparing a lotos
belonging to another, but at their mercy? Perseus himself, much
vaunted for his chivalry, did not undertake to save the rock-chained
Andromeda from the sea monster until he had extorted a promise that
she should be his prize. Fine sort of chivalry, that!


One more species of pseudo-self-sacrifice remains to be considered.
When Hero finds Leander's dead body on the rocks she commits suicide.
Is not this self-sacrifice for love's sake? It is always so
considered, and Eckstein, in his eagerness to prove that the ancient
Greeks knew romantic love,[37] gives a list of six legendary suicides
from hopeless or foiled love. The question of suicide is an
interesting one and will be considered in detail in the chapter on the
American Indians, who, like other savages, were addicted to it, in
many cases for the most trivial reasons. In this place I will content
myself with noting that if Eckstein had taken the pains to peruse the
four volumes of Ramdohr's _Venus Urania_ (a formidable task, I admit),
he would have found an author who more than a hundred years ago knew
that suicide is no test of true love. There are indeed, he says (III.,
46), plenty of old stories of self-sacrifice, but they are all of the
kind where a man risks comfort and life to secure possession of a
coveted body for his own enjoyment, or else where he takes his own
life because he feels lonely after having failed to secure the desired
union. These actions are no index of love, for they "may coexist with
the cruelest treatment" of the coveted woman. Very ambitious persons
or misers may commit suicide after losing honor or wealth, and

     "a coarse negro, in face of the danger of losing his
     sweetheart, is capable of casting himself into the ocean
     with her, or of plunging his dagger into her breast and then
     into his own."

All this is selfish. The only true index of love, Ramdohr continues,
lies in the sacrifice of one's own happiness _for another's sake_; in
resigning one's self to separation from the beloved, or even to death,
if that is necessary to secure her happiness or welfare. Of such
self-sacrifice he declares he cannot find a single instance in the
records and stories of the ancients; nor can I.

The suicide of Dido after her desertion by Aeneas is often cited as
proof of love, but Ramdohr insists (338) that, apart from the fact
that "a woman really in love would not have pursued Aeneas with
curses," such an act as hers was the outcome of purely selfish
despair, on a par with the suicide of a miser after the loss of his
money. It is needless to add to this that Hero's suicide was likewise
selfish; for of what possible benefit was it to the dead Leander that
she took her own life in a cowardly fit of despondency at having lost
her chief source of delight? Had she lost her life in an effort to
save his, the case would have been different.

Instances of women sacrificing themselves for men's sake abound in
ancient literature, though I am not so sure that they abounded in
life, except under compulsion, as in the Hindoo suttee.[38] As we
shall see in the chapter on India, tales of feminine self-sacrifice
were among the means craftily employed by men to fortify and gratify
their selfishness. Still, in the long run, just as man's fierce
"jealousy" helped to make women chaster than men, so the inculcation
in women of self-sacrifice as a duty, gradually made them naturally
inclined to that virtue--an inclination which was strengthened by
inveterate, deep-rooted, maternal love. Thus it happened that
self-sacrifice assumed rank in course of time as a specifically
feminine virtue; so much so that the German metaphysician Fichte could
declare that "the woman's life should disappear in the man's without a
remnant," and that this process is love. No doubt it is love, but love
demands at the same time that the man's life should disappear in the

It is interesting to note the sexual aspects of gallantry and
self-sacrifice. Women are prevented by custom, etiquette, and inbred
coyness from showing gallant attentions to men before marriage,
whereas the impulse to sacrifice happiness or life for love's sake is
at least as strong in them as in men, and of longer standing. If a
girl of affectionate impulses on hearing that the man she
loved--though he might not have proposed to her--lay wounded, or ill
of yellow fever, in a hospital, threw away all reserve, coyness, and
fear of violating decorum, and went to nurse him day and night, at
imminent risk of her own life, all the world would applaud her,
convinced that she had done a more feminine thing than if she had
allowed coyness to suppress her sympathetic and self-sacrificing


A German poem printed in the _Wunderhorn_ relates how a young man,
after a long absence from home, returns and eagerly hastens to see his
former sweetheart. He finds her standing in the doorway and informs
her that her beauty pleases his heart as much as ever:

     Gott grüss dich, du Hübsche, du Feine,
     Von Herzen gefallst du mir.

To which she retorts: "What need is there of my pleasing you? I got a
husband long ago--a handsome man, well able to take care of me."
Whereupon the disappointed lover draws his knife and stabs her through
the heart.

In his _History of German Song_ (chap, v.), Edward Schuré comments on
this poem in the following amazing fashion:

     "How necessary yet how tragic is this answer with the
     knife to the heartless challenge of the former
     sweetheart! How fatal and terrible is this sudden
     change of a passionate soul from ardent love to the
     wildest hatred! We see him taking one step back, we see
     how he trembles, how the flush of rage suffuses his
     face, and how his love, offended, injured, and dragged
     in the dust, slakes its thirst with the blood of the
     faithless woman."


It seems almost incredible that such a villanous sentiment should have
been allowed to appear in a book without sending its author to prison.
"Necessary" to _murder_ a sweetheart because she has changed her mind
during a man's long absence! The wildest anarchist plot never included
a more diabolical idea. Brainless, selfish, impulsive young idiots are
only too apt to act on that principle if their proposals are not
accepted; the papers contain cases nearly every week of poor girls
murdered for refusing an unwelcome suitor; but the world is beginning
to understand that it is illogical and monstrous to apply the sacred
word of love to the feeling which animates these cowardly assassins,
whose only motives are selfish lust and a dog-in-the-manger jealousy.
_Love_ never "slakes its thirst" with the blood of a woman. Had that
man really loved that woman, he would have been no more capable of
murdering her than of murdering his father for disinheriting him.

Schuré is by no means the only author who has thus confounded love
with murderous, jealous lust. A most astounding instance occurs in
Goethe's _Werther_--the story of a common servant who conceived a
passion for a well-to-do widow.

He lost his appetite, his sleep, forgot his errands; an evil spirit
pursued him. One day, finding her alone in the garret, he made an
improper proposal to her, and on her refusing he attempted violence,
from which she was saved only through the timely arrival of her
brother. In defending his conduct the servant, in a most ungallant,
unmanly, and cowardly way, tried to fasten the guilt on the widow by
saying that she had previously allowed him to take some liberties with
her. He was of course promptly ejected from the house, and when
subsequently another man was engaged to take his place, and began to
pay his addresses to the widow, the discharged servant fell upon him
and assassinated him. And this disgusting exhibition of murderous lust
and jealousy leads Goethe to exclaim, rapturously:

     "This love, this fidelity(!), this passion, is thus
     seen to be no invention of the poets(!). It lives, it
     is to be found in its greatest purity(!) among that
     class of people whom we call uneducated and coarse."

In view of the sensual and selfish attitude which Goethe held toward
women all his life, it is perhaps not strange that he should have
written the silly words just quoted. It was probably a guilty
conscience, a desire to extenuate selfish indulgence at the expense of
a poor girl's virtue and happiness, that led him to represent his
hero, Werther, as using every possible effort in court to secure the
pardon of that erotomaniac who had first attempted rape and then
finished up by assassinating his rival.

If Werther's friend had murdered the widow herself, Goethe would have
been logically bound to see in his act still stronger evidence of the
"reality," "fidelity," and "purity" of love among "people whom we call
uneducated and coarse." And if Goethe had lived to read the Rev. W.W.
Gill's _Savage Life in Polynesia_, he might have found therein (118) a
story of cannibal "love" still more calculated to arouse his rapturous

     "An ill-looking but brave warrior of the cannibal tribe
     of Ruanae, named Vete, fell violently in love with a
     pretty girl named Tanuau, who repelled his advances and
     foolishly reviled him for his ugliness. His only
     thought now was how to be revenged for this
     unpardonable insult. He could not kill her, as she
     wisely kept to the encampment of Mantara. After some
     months Tanuau sickened and died. The corpse was
     conveyed across the island to be let down the chasm of
     Raupa, the usual burial-place of her tribe."

Vete chose this as the time for revenge. Arrangements were made to
intercept the corpse secretly, and he had it carried away. It was too
decomposed to be eaten, so they cut it in pieces and burned
it--burning anything belonging to a person being the greatest injury
one can inflict on a native.


But what have all these disgusting stories to do with affection, the
subject of this chapter? Nothing whatever--and that is why I have put
them here--to show in a glaring light that what Goethe and Schuré, and
doubtless thousands of their readers accepted as love is not love,
since there is no affection in it. A true patriot, a man who feels an
affection for his country, lays down his life for it without a thought
of personal advantage; and if his country treats him ungratefully he
does not turn traitor and assassin--like the German and Polynesian
"lovers" we have just read about. A real lover is indeed overjoyed to
have his affection returned; but if it is not reciprocated he is none
the less affectionate, none the less ready to lay down his life for
the other, and, above all, he is utterly incapable of taking hers.
What creates this difference between lust and love is affection, and,
so far at least as maternal love is concerned, the nature of affection
was known thousands of years ago. When two mothers came before King
Solomon, each claiming the same child as her own, the king sent for a
sword and said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to the
one and half to the other." To this the false claimant agreed, but the
real mother exclaimed, "O my lord, give her the living child and in no
wise slay it." Then the king knew that she was the child's mother and
gave him to her. "And all Israel saw that the wisdom of God was in
Solomon, to do judgment."

If we ask why this infallible test of love was not applied to the
sexual passion, the answer is that it would have failed, because
ancient love between the sexes was, as all the testimony collected in
this book shows, too sensual and selfish to stand such a test. Yet it
is obvious that if we to-day are to apply the word love to the sexual
relations, we must use the same test of disinterested affection that
we use in the case of maternal love or love of country; and that love
is not love before affection is added to all the other ingredients
heretofore considered. In that servant's "love" which so excited the
wonder of Goethe, only three of the fourteen ingredients of love were
present--individual preference, monopoly, and jealousy--and those
three, as we have seen, occur also in plain lust. Of the tender,
altruistic, loving traits of love--sympathy, adoration, gallantry,
self-sacrifice, affection--there is not a trace.


When a great poet can blunder so flagrantly in his diagnosis of love,
we cannot wonder that minor writers should often be erratic. For
instance, in _The Snake Dance of the Moquis of Arizona_ (45-46),
Captain J.D. Bourke exclaims:

     "So much stuff and nonsense has been written about the
     entire absence of affection from the Indian character,
     especially in the relations between the sexes, that it
     affords me great pleasure to note this little incident"

--namely, a scene between an Indian and a young squaw:

     "They had evidently only lately had a quarrel, for
     which each was heartily sorry. He approached, and was
     received with a disdain tempered with so much sweetness
     and affection that he wilted at once, and, instead of
     boldly asserting himself, dared do nothing but timidly
     touch her hand. The touch, I imagine, was not
     disagreeable, because the girl's hand was soon firmly
     held in his, and he, with earnest warmth, was pouring
     into her ear words whose purport it was not difficult
     to conjecture."

That the simplest kind of a sensual caress--squeezing a young woman's
hand and whispering in her ear--should be accepted as evidence of
_affection_ is naïve, to say the least, and need not be commented on
after what has just been said about the true nature of affection and
its altruistic test. Unfortunately many travellers who came in contact
with the lower races shared Bourke's crude conception of the nature of
affection, and this has done much to mislead even expert
anthropologists; Westermarck, for instance, who is induced by such
testimony to remark (358) that conjugal affection has among certain
uncivilized peoples "reached a remarkably high degree of development."
Among those whom he relies on as witnesses is Schweinfurth, who says
of the man-eating African Niam-Niam that "they display an affection
for their wives which is unparalleled among natives of so low a grade.
... A husband will spare no sacrifice to redeem an imprisoned wife"
(I., 472).


This looks like strong evidence, but when we examine the facts the
illusion vanishes. The Nubians, it appears, are given to stealing the
wives of these Niam-Niam, to induce them to ransom them with ivory. A
case occurred within Dr. Schweinfurth's own experience (II., 180-187).
Two married women were stolen, and during the night

     "it was touching, through the moaning of the wind, to catch
     the lamentations of the Niam-Niam men bewailing the loss of
     their captured wives; cannibals though they were, they were
     evidently capable of true conjugal affection. The Nubians
     remained quite unaffected by any of their cries, and never
     for a moment swerved from their purpose of recovering the
     ivory before they surrendered the women."

Here we see what the expression that the Niam-Niam "spare no sacrifice
to redeem their imprisoned women" amounts to: the Nubians counted on
it that they would rather part with their ivory than with their wives!
This, surely, involved no "sacrifice"; it was simply a question of
which the husbands preferred, the useless ivory or the useful
women--desirable as drudges and concubines. Why should buying back a
wife be evidence of affection any more than the buying of a bride,
which is a general custom of Africans? As for their howling over their
lost wives, that was natural enough; they would have howled over lost
cows too--as our children cry if their milk is taken away when they
are hungry. Actions which can be interpreted in such sensual and
selfish terms can never be accepted as proof of true affection. That
the captured wives, on their part, were not troubled by conjugal
affection is evident from Schweinfurth's remark that they "were
perfectly composed and apparently quite indifferent."


Let us take one more case. There are plenty of men who would like to
kiss every pretty girl they see, and no one would be so foolish as to
regard a kiss as proof of _affection_. Yet Lyon (another of the
witnesses on whom Westermarck relies) accepts, with a naïveté
equalling Captain Bourke's, the rubbing together of noses, which among
the Eskimos is an equivalent of our kissing, as a mark of "affection."
In the case of unscientific travellers, such a loose use of words may
perhaps be pardonable, but a specialist who writes a history of
marriage should not put the label of "affection" on everything that
comes into his drag-net, as Westermarck does (pp. 358-59); a
proceeding the less excusable because he himself admits, a few pages
later (362), that affection is chiefly provoked by "intellectual,
emotional, and moral qualities" which certainly could not be found
among some of the races he refers to. I have investigated a number of
the alleged cases of conjugal "affection" in books of travel, and
found invariably that some manifestation of sensual attachment was
recklessly accepted as an indication of "affection."

In part, it is true, the English language is to be blamed for this
state of affairs. The word affection has been used to mean almost any
disposition of the mind, including passion, lust, animosity, and a
morbid state. But in good modern usage it means or implies an
altruistic feeling of devotion which urges us to seek the welfare of
another even at the expense of our own. We call a mother affectionate
because she willingly and eagerly sacrifices herself for her child,
toils for it, loses sleep and food and health for its sake. If she
merely cared for it [note the subtle double sense of "caring for"]
because it is pretty and amusing, we might concede that she "liked"
it, was "attached" to it, or "fond" of it; but it would be incorrect
to speak of affection. Liking, attachment, and fondness differ from
affection not only in degree but in kind; they are selfish, while
affection is unselfish; they occur among savages, while affection is
peculiar to civilized persons and perhaps some animals.


Liking is the weakest kind of inclination toward another. It "never
has the intensity of love." To say that I like a man is to indicate
merely that he pleases me, gives me selfish pleasure--in some way or
other. A man may say of a girl who pleases him by her looks, wit,
vivacity, or sympathy, "I like her," though he may have known her only
a few minutes; while a girl who will rather die than give any sign of
affection, may be quite willing to confess that she likes him, knowing
that the latter means infinitely less and does not betray her; that
is, it merely indicates that he pleases her and not that she is
particularly anxious to please him, as she would be if she loved him.
Girls "like" candy, too, because it gives them pleasure, and cannibals
may like missionaries without having the least affection for them.

Attachment is stranger than liking, but it also springs from selfish
interests and habits. It is apt to be similar to that gratitude which
is "a lively sense of favors to come." Mrs. Bishop (Isabella Bird)
eloquently describes (II, 135-136) the attachment to her of a Persian
horse, and incidentally suggests the philosophy of the matter in one
sentence: "To him I am an embodiment of melons, cucumbers, grapes,
pears, peaches, biscuits, and sugar, with a good deal of petting and
ear-rubbing thrown in." Cases of attachment between husband and wife
no doubt abound among savages, even when the man is usually
contemptuous and rude in his treatment of the wife. The Niam-Niam
husbands of Schweinfurth did not, as we saw, give any evidence of
unselfish affection, but they were doubtless attached to their wives,
for obvious reasons. As for the women among the lower races, they are
apt, like dogs, to cling to their master, no matter how much he may
kick them about. They get from him food and shelter, and blind habit
does the rest to attach them to his hearth. What habit and association
can do is shown in the ease with which "happy families" of hostile
animals can be reared. But the beasts of prey must be well fed; a day
or two of fasting would result in the lamb lying down inside the lion.
The essential selfishness of attachment is shown also in the way a man
becomes attached to his pipe or his home, etc. At the same time,
personal attachment may prove the entering wedge of something higher.
"The passing attachments of young people are seldom entitled to
serious notice; although sometimes they may ripen by long intercourse
into a laudable and steady affection" (Crabb).


The word fondness is sometimes used in the sense of a tender, loving
disposition; yet there is nearly always an implication of silly
extravagance or unseemly demonstrativeness, and in the most accurate
usage it means a foolish, doting indulgence, without discriminating
intelligence, or even common-sense. As Crabb puts it in his _English
Synonyms_, "A fond parent does not rise above a fool." Everybody knows
fathers and mothers whose fondness induces them to indulge all the
appetites, desires, and whims of their children, thereby ruining their
health and temper, making them greedy and selfish, and laying the
foundation for a wretched life for the children themselves and all who
are unfortunate enough to come into contact with them. This irrational
fondness is what travellers and anthropologists have so often mistaken
for genuine affection in the cases of savages and barbarians who were
found to be fondling their babes, doting upon them, playing with them,
and refusing to punish them for any naughtiness. But it is far from
being affection, because it is not only foolish, but _selfish_. To
some of my readers this may seem a strange accusation, but it is a
fact recognized in the best literary usage, for, as Crabb remarks, "a
person is fond, who caresses an object or makes it a source of
pleasure _to himself_." Savages fondle their children because in doing
so they please and amuse themselves. Their pranks entertain the
fathers, and as for the mothers, nature (natural selection) has
implanted in them an unconscious instinct of race preservation which,
recognizing the selfishness of primitive man, has brought it about
that it gives the mother a special pleasure to suckle and fondle her
infant. The essential selfishness of this fondness is revealed when
there is a conflict between the mother's comfort and the child's
welfare. The horrible prevalence among many of the lower races, of
infanticide--merely to save trouble--of which many examples are given
in various parts of this book (see index)--shows not only how selfish,
but how shallow, fondness is. There are thousands of mothers in our
modern cities who have not risen above this condition. An Italian,
Ferriani, has written a book on degenerate mothers (_Madri
Snaturate_), and I have in my note-books a statement of the London
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children referring to a
record of 2,141 cases of proved cruelty in the one month of August,
1898; which would make at least 25,000 cases a year, in one city
alone, or possibly double that number, for many cases are never found
out, or else consist of mental torture which is worse than bodily
maltreatment. Yet there can be no doubt that all, or nearly all, of
these mothers were fond of their babies--_i.e._, fondled them at
first, till the animal instinct implanted in them was overcome by the
desire for personal comfort. This animal instinct, given to them by
nature, is no virtue, for it is unconscious. A tigress has it, but we
do not call it a virtue in her any more than we call her cruelty to
her prey a vice; she is acting unconsciously in either case, knowing
no distinction between good and evil. Fondness, in a word, is not an
ethical virtue. In addition to all its enumerated shortcomings, it is,
moreover, transient. A dog mother will care for her young for a few
months with the watchfulness and temporary ferocity implanted in her
by natural selection, but after that she will abandon them and
recognize them no more as her own. Sometimes this instinctive fondness
ceases with startling rapidity. I remember once in a California yard,
how a hen flew in my face angrily because I had frightened her chicks.
A few days later she deserted them, before they were really quite old
enough to take care of themselves, and all my efforts to make her
return and let them sleep again under her warm feathers failed. She
even pecked at them viciously. Some of the lower savages similarly
abandon their young as soon as they are able to get along, while those
who care for them longer, do so not from affection, but because sons
are useful assistants in hunting and fighting, and daughters can be
sold or traded off for new wives. That they do not keep them from
affection is proved by the fact that in all cases where any selfish
advantage can be gained they marry them off without reference to their
wishes or chances of happiness.[39]


While the fondness of savages, which has been so often mistaken for
affection, is thus seen to be foolish, unconscious, selfish, shallow,
and transient, true affection is rational, conscious, unselfish, deep,
and enduring. Being rational, it looks not to the enjoyment or comfort
of the moment, but to future and enduring welfare, and therefore does
not hesitate to punish folly or misdeeds in order to avert future
illness or misfortune. Instead of being a mere instinctive impulse,
liable to cease at any moment, like that of the California hen
referred to, it is a conscious altruism, never faltering in its
ethical sense of duty, utterly incapable of sacrificing another's
comfort or well-being to its own. While fondness is found coexisting
with cruelty and even with infanticide and cannibalism (as in those
Australian mothers, who feed their children well and carry them when
tired, but when a real test of altruism comes--during a famine--kill
and eat them,[40] just as the men do their wives when they cease to be
sensually attractive), affection is horrified at the mere suggestion
of such a thing. No man into whose love affection enters as an
ingredient would ever injure his beloved merely to gratify himself.
Crabb is utterly wrong when he writes that

     "love is more selfish in its nature than friendship; in
     indulging another it seeks its own, and when this is not to
     be obtained, it will change into the contrary passion of

This is a definition of lust, not of love--a definition of the passion
as known to the Greek Euripides, of whose lovers Benecke says (53):

     "If, or as soon as, they fail in achieving the
     gratification of their sensual desires, their 'love'
     immediately turns to hate. The idea of devotion or
     self-sacrifice for the good of the beloved person, as
     distinct from one's own, is absolutely unknown. 'Love
     is irresistible,' they say, and, in obedience to its
     commands, they set down to reckon how they can satisfy
     themselves, at no matter what cost to the objects of
     their passion."

How different this unaffectionate "love" from the love of which our
poets sing! Shakspere knew that absorbing affection is an ingredient
of love: Beatrice loves Benedick "with an enraged affection," which is
"past the infinite of the night." Rosalind does not know how many
fathom deep she is in love: "It cannot he sounded; my affection hath
an unknown bottom, like the Bay of Portugal." Dr. Abel has truly said

     "affection is love tested and purified in the fire of
     the intellect. It appears when, after the veil of fancy
     has dropped, a beloved one is seen in the natural
     beauty with various human limitations, and is still
     found worthy of the warmest regards. It comes slowly,
     but it endures; gives more than it takes and has a
     tinge of tender gratitude for a thousand kind actions
     and for the bestowal of enduring happiness. According
     to English ideas, a deep affection, through whose clear
     mirror the gold of the old love shimmers visibly,
     should be the fulfilment of marriage."

Of romantic love affection obviously could not become an ingredient
till minds were cultured, women esteemed, men made altruistic, and
opportunities were given for youths and maidens to become acquainted
with each other's minds and characters before marriage; as Dr. Abel
says, affection "comes slowly--but it endures." The love of which
affection forms an ingredient can never change to hatred, can never
have any murderous impulses, as Schuré and Goethe believed. It
survives time and sensual charms, as Shakspere knew:

     Love is not love
     Which alters when it alteration finds.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
     Within his bending sickle's compass come;
     Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
     But bears it out ev'n to the edge of doom:--

     If this be error, and upon me proved;
     I never writ nor no man ever loved.


Romantic love has worked two astounding miracles. We have seen how,
with the aid of five of its ingredients--sympathy, adoration,
gallantry, self-sacrifice, and affection--it has overthrown the
Goliath of selfishness. We shall now see how it has overcome another
formidable foe of civilization--sensualism--by means of two other
modern ingredients, one of which I will call mental purity (to
distinguish it from bodily purity or chastity) and the other
_esthetic_ admiration of personal beauty.


Modern German literature contains many sincere tributes, in prose and
verse, to the purity and nobility of true love and its refining
influence. The psychologist Horwicz refers briefly (38) to the way in

     "love, growing up as a mighty passion from the substratum of
     sexual life, has, under the repressing influence of
     centuries of habits and customs, taken on an entirely new,
     _supersensual, ethereal_ character, so that to a lover every
     thought of _naturalia_ seems indelicate and improper." "I
     feel it deeply that love must ennoble, not crush me,"

wrote the poet Korner; and again,

     "Your sweet name was my talisman, which led me undefiled
     through youth's wild storms, amid the corruption of the
     times, and protected my inner sanctum." "O God!" wrote
     Beethoven, "let me at last find her who is destined to be
     mine, and who shall strengthen me in virtue."

According to Dr. Abel, while love longs ardently to possess the
beloved, to enjoy her presence and sympathy, it has also a more or
less prominent mental trait which ennobles the passion and places it
at the service of the ideal of its fancy. It is accompanied by an
enthusiasm for the good and the beautiful in general, which comes to
most people only during the brief period of love. "It is a temporary
self-exaltation, _purifying the desires_ and urging the lover to
generous deeds."

     Des höchste Glück hat keine Lieder,
     Der Liebe Lust ist still und mild;
     Ein Kuss, ein Blicken hin und wieder,
     Und alle Sehnsucht ist gestillt.

Schiller defined love as an eager "desire for another's happiness."
"Love," he adds, "is the most beautiful phenomenon in all animated
nature, the mightiest magnet in the spiritual world, the source of
veneration and the sublimest virtues." Even Goethe had moments when he
appreciated the purity of love, and he confutes his own coarse
conception that was referred to in the last section when he makes
Werther write: "She is sacred to me. _All desire is silent in her

The French Edward Schuré exclaims, in his _History of German Song_:

     "What surprises us foreigners in the poems of this
     people is the unbounded faith in love, as the supreme
     power in the world, as the most beautiful and _divine
     thing_ on earth, ... the first and last word of
     creation, its only principle of life, because it alone
     can urge us to complete self-surrender."

Schuré's intimation that this respect for love is peculiar to the
Germans is, of course, absurd, for it is found in the modern
literature of all civilized countries of Europe and America; as for
instance in Michael Angelo's

     The might of one fair face sublimes my love,
     For it _hath weaned my heart from low desires_.


English literature, particularly, has been saturated with this
sentiment for several centuries. Love is "all purity," according to
Shakspere's Silvius. Schlegel remarked that by the manner in which
Shakspere handled the story of _Romeo and Juliet_, it has become

     "a glorious song of praise on that inexpressible feeling
     which _ennobles the soul_ and gives to it its highest
     sublimity, and which _elevates even the senses_ themselves
     into soul;"

--which reminds one of Emerson's expression that the body is
"ensouled" through love. Steele declared that "Love is a passion of
the mind (_perhaps the noblest_), which was planted in it by the same
hand that created it;" and of Lady Elizabeth Hastings he wrote that
"to love her was a liberal education." In Steel's _Lover_ (No. 5) we

     "During this emotion I am highly elated in my Being, and my
     every sentiment improved by the effects of that Passion....
     I am more and more convinced that this Passion is in lowest
     minds the strongest Incentive that can move the Soul of Man
     to laudable Accomplishments."

And in No. 29: "Nothing can _mend the Heart_ better than an honorable
Love, except Religion." Thomas Otway sang:

     O woman! lovely woman! Nature made thee
     To temper man: we had been brutes without you.
     There's in you all that we believe of heaven,
     Amazing brightness, purity, and truth,
     Eternal joy, and everlasting love.

"Love taught him shame," said Dryden, and Spenser wrote a Hymn in
Honor of Love, in which he declared that

     Such is the power of that sweet passion
       That it _all sordid baseness doth expel_,
     And the refined mind doth newly fashion
       Unto a fairer form, which now doth dwell
     In his high thought, that would itself excel.

Leigh Hunt wrote: "My love has made me better and more desirous of
improvement than I have been."

     Love, indeed, is light from heaven;
       A spark of that immortal fire,
     With angels shared, by Allah given,
       To _lift from earth our low desire_.
     Devotion wafts the mind above,
     But heaven itself descends in love.

     Why should we kill the _best of passions_, love?
     It aids the hero, bids ambition rise
     To nobler heights, inspires immortal deeds,
     Ev'n _softens brutes_, and adds a grace to virtue.

Dr. Beddoe, author of the _Browning Cyclopaedia_, declares that "the
passion of love, throughout Mr. Browning's works, is treated as the
most _sacred_ thing in the human soul." How Browning himself loved we
know from one of his wife's letters, in which she relates how she
tried to discourage his advances:

     "I showed him how he was throwing away into the ashes
     his best affections--how the common gifts of youth and
     cheerfulness were behind me--how I had not strength,
     even of heart, for the ordinary duties of
     life--everything I told him and showed him. 'Look at
     this--and this--and this,' throwing down all my
     disadvantages. To which he did not answer by a single
     compliment, but simply that he had not then to choose,
     and that I might be right or he might be right, he was
     not there to decide; but that he loved me and should to
     his last hour. He said that the freshness of youth had
     passed with him also, and that he had studied the world
     out of books and seen many women, yet had never loved
     one until he had seen me. That he knew himself, and
     knew that, if ever so repulsed, he should love me to
     his last hour--it should be first and last."

No poet understood better than Tennyson that purity is an ingredient
of love:

             For indeed I know
     Of no more subtle master under heaven
     Than is the maiden passion for a maid,
     Not only _to keep down the base in man_,
     But teach high thoughts and amiable words,
     And courtliness, and the desire of fame
     And love of truth, and all that makes a man.


Bryan Waller Proctor fell in love when he was only five years old: "My
love," he wrote afterward, "had the fire of passion, but not the clay
which drags it downward; it partook of the innocence of my years,
while it etherealized me."

Such ethereal love too is the prerogative of a young maiden, whose
imagination is immaculate, ignorant of impurity.

     Her feelings have the fragrancy,
     The freshness of young flowers.

     No, no, the utmost share
       Of my desire shall be,
     Only to kiss that air
       That lately kissed thee.

In high school, when sentimental impulses first manifest themselves in
a girl, she is more likely than not to transfer them to a girl. Her
feelings, in these cases, are not merely those of a warm friendship,
but they resemble the passionate, self-sacrificing attitude of
romantic love. New York schoolgirls have a special slang phrase for
this kind of love--they call it a "crush," to distinguish it from a
"mash," which refers to an impression made on a man. A girl of
seventeen told me one day how madly she was in love with another girl
whose seat was near hers; how she brought her flowers, wiped her pens,
took care of her desk; "but I don't believe she cares for me at all,"
she added, sadly.


Such love is usually as innocent as a butterfly's flirtation with a
flower.[42] It has a pathologic phase, in some cases, which need not
be discussed here. But I wish to call attention to the fact that even
in abnormal states modern love preserves its purity. The most eminent
authority on mental pathology, Professor Krafft-Ebing, says,
concerning erotomania:

     "The kernel of the whole matter is the delusion of
     being singled out and loved by a person of the other
     sex, who regularly belongs to a higher social class.
     And it should be noted that the love felt by the
     patient toward this person is a romantic, ecstatic, but
     entirely 'Platonic' affection."

I have among my notes a remarkable case, relating to that most awful
of diseases that can befall a woman--nymphomania.[43] The patient

     "I have also noticed that when my affections are
     aroused, they counteract animal passion. I could never
     love a man because he was a man. My tendency is to
     worship the good I find in friends. I feel just the
     same toward those of my own sex. If they show any
     regard for me, the touch of a hand has power to take
     away all morbid feelings."


There are all sorts and conditions of love. To those who have known
only the primitive (sensual) sort, the conditions described in the
foregoing pages will seem strange and fantastic if not
fictitious--that is, the products of the writers' imaginations.
Fantastic they are, no doubt, and romantic, but that they are real I
can vouch for by my own experience whenever I was in love, which
happened several times. When I was a youth of seventeen I fell in love
with a beautiful, black-eyed young woman, a Spanish-American of
Californian stock. She was married, and I am afraid she was amused at
my mad infatuation. Did I try to flirt with her? A smile, a glance of
her eyes, was to me the seventh heaven beyond which there could be no
other. I would not have dared to touch her hand, and the thought of
kissing her was as much beyond my wildest flights of fancy as if she
had been a real goddess. To me she was divine, utterly unapproachable
by mortal. Every day I used to sit in a lonely spot of the forest and
weep; and when she went away I felt as if the son had gone out and all
the world were plunged into eternal darkness.

Such is romantic love--a supersensual feeling of crystalline purity
from which all gross matter has been distilled. But the love that
includes this ingredient is a modern sentiment, less than a thousand
years old, and not to be found among savages, barbarians, or
Orientals. To them, as the perusal of past and later chapters must
convince the reader, it is inconceivable that a woman should serve any
other than sensual and utilitarian purposes. The whole story is told
in what Dodge says of the Indians, who, "animal-like, approach a woman
only to make love to her"; and of the squaws who do not dare even go
with a beau to a dance, or go a short distance from camp, without
taking precautions against rape--precautions without which they "would
not be safe for an instant" (210, 213).


We shall read later on of the obscene talk and sights that poison the
minds of boys and girls among Indians, Polynesians, etc., from their
infancy; in which respect Orientals are not much better than Hurons
and Botocudos. "The Persian child," writes Mrs. Bishop (I., 218),

     "from infancy is altogether interested in the topics of
     adults; and as the conversation of both sexes is said
     by those who know them best to be without reticence or
     modesty, the purity which is one of the greatest charms
     of childhood is absolutely unknown."

Of the Turks (at Bagdad) Ida Pfeiffer writes _(L.J.R.W._, 202-203)
that she found it

     "very painful to notice the tone of the conversation
     that goes on in these harems and in the baths. Nothing
     can exceed the demureness of the women in public; but
     when they come together in these places, they indemnify
     themselves thoroughly for the restraint. While they
     were busy with their pipes and coffee, I took the
     opportunity to take a glance into the neighboring
     apartments, and in a few minutes I saw enough to fill
     me at once with disgust and compassion for these poor
     creatures, whom idleness and ignorance have degraded
     almost below the level of humanity. A visit to the
     women's baths left a no less melancholy impression.
     There were children of both sexes, girls, women, and
     elderly matrons. The poor children! how should they in
     after life understand what is meant by modesty and
     purity, when they are accustomed from their infancy to
     witness such scenes, and listen to such conversation?"

These Orientals are too coarse-fibred to appreciate the spotless,
peach-down purity which in our ideal is a maiden's supreme charm. They
do not care to prolong, even for a year what to us seems the sweetest,
loveliest period of life, the time of artless, innocent maidenhood.
They cannot admire a rose for its fragrant beauty, but must needs
regard it as a thing to be picked at once and used to gratify their
appetite. Nay, they cannot even wait till it is a full-blown rose, but
must destroy the lovely bud. The "civilized" Hindoos, who are allowed
legally to sacrifice girls to their lusts before the poor victims have
reached the age of puberty, are really on a level with the African
savages who indulge in the same practice. An unsophisticated reader of
_Kalidasa_ might find in the King's comparison of Sakuntala to "a
flower that no one has smelt, a sprig that no one has plucked, a pearl
that has not yet been pierced," a recognition of the charm of maiden
purity. But there is a world-wide difference between this and the
modern sentiment. The King's attitude, as the context shows, is simply
that of an epicure who prefers his oysters fresh. The modern sentiment
is embodied in Heine's exquisite lines:


     E'en as a lovely flower
       So fair, so pure, thou art;
     I gaze on thee and sadness
       Comes stealing o'er my heart.

     My hands I fain had folded
       Upon thy soft brown hair,
     Praying that God may keep thee
       So lovely, pure, and fair.
                               --_Trans, of Kate Freiligrath Kroeker_.

It is not surprising that this intensely modern poem should have been
set to music--the most modern of all the arts--more frequently than
any other verses ever written. To Orientals, to savages, to Greeks, it
would be incomprehensible--as incomprehensible as Ruskin's "there is
no true conqueror of lust but love," or Tennyson's

     'Tis better to have loved and lost
     Than never to have loved at all.

To them the love between men and women seems not a purifying,
ennobling emotion, a stimulus to self-improvement and an impulse to do
generous, unselfish deeds, but a mere animal passion, low and


The Japanese have a little more regard for women than most Orientals,
yet by them, too, love is regarded as a low passion--as, in fact,
identical with lust. It is not considered respectable for young folks
to arrange their own marriages on a basis of love.

"Among the lower classes, indeed," says Küchler,[44] "such direct
unions are not infrequent; but they are held in contempt, and are
known as yago (meeting on a moor), a term of disrespect, showing the
low opinion entertained of it." Professor Chamberlain writes, in his
_Things Japanese_ (285):

     "One love marriage we have heard of, one in eighteen years!
     But then both the young people had been brought up in
     America. Accordingly they took the reins in their own hands,
     to the great scandal of all their friends and relations."

On another page (308) he says:

     "According to the Confucian ethical code, which the Japanese
     adopted, a man's parents, his teacher, and his lord claim
     his life-long service, his wife standing on an immeasurably
     lower plane."[45]

Ball, in his _Things Chinese_ comments on the efforts made by Chinamen
to suppress love-matches as being immoral; and the French author, L.A.
Martin, says, in his book on Chinese morals (171):

     "Chinese philosophers know nothing of Platonic love;
     they speak of the relations between men and women with
     the greatest reserve, and we must attribute this to the
     low esteem in which they generally hold the fair sex;
     in their illustrations of the disorders of love, it is
     almost always the woman on whom the blame of seduction
     is laid."


The Greeks were in the same boat. They did indeed distinguish between
two kinds of love, the sensual and the celestial, but--as we shall see
in detail in the special chapter devoted to them--they applied the
celestial kind only to friendship and boy-love, never to the love
between men and women. That love was considered impure and degrading,
a humiliating affliction of the mind, not for a moment comparable to
the friendship between men or the feelings that unite parents and
children. This is the view taken in Plato's writings, in Xenophon's
_Symposium_ and everywhere. In Plutarch's _Dialogue on Love_, written
five hundred years after Plato, one of the speakers ventures a faint
protest against the current notion that "there is no gust of
friendship or heavenly ravishment of mind," in the love for women; but
this is a decided innovation on the traditional Greek view, which is
thus brutally expressed by one of the interlocutors in the same

     "True love has nothing to do with women, and I assert that
     you who are passionately inclined toward women and maidens
     do not love any more than flies love milk or bees honey, or
     cooks the calves and birds whom they fatten in the dark....
     The passion for women consists at the best in the gain of
     sensual pleasure and the enjoyment of bodily beauty."

Another interlocutor sums up the Greek attitude in these words: "It
behooves respectable women neither to love nor to be loved."

Goethe had an aperçu of the absence of purity in Greek love when he
wrote, in his _Roman Elegies:_

     In der heroischen Zeit, da Götter und Göttinnen liebten.
     Folgte Begierde dem Blick, folgte Genuss der Begier.


The change in love from the barbarian and ancient attitude to the
modern conception of it as a refining, purifying feeling is closely
connected with the growth of the altruistic ingredients of
love--sympathy, gallantry, self-sacrifice, affection, and especially
adoration. It is one of the points where religion and love meet.
Mariolatry greatly affected men's attitude toward women in general,
including their notions about love. There is a curious passage in
Burton worth citing here (III., 2):

     "Christ himself, and the Virgin Mary, had most
     beautiful eyes, as amiable eyes as any persons, saith
     Baradius, that ever lived, yet withal so modest, so
     chaste, that whosoever looked on them was freed from
     that passion of burning lust, if we may believe Gerson
     and Bonaventure; there was no such antidote against it
     as the Virgin Mary's face."

Mediaeval theologians had a special name for this faculty--Penetrative
Virginity--which McClintock and Strong's _Cyclopedia of Biblical
Literature_ defines as

     "such an extraordinary or perfect gift of chastity, to
     which some have pretended that it overpowered those by
     whom they have been surrounded, and created in them an
     insensibility to the pleasures of the flesh. The Virgin
     Mary, according to some Romanists, was possessed of
     this gift, which made those who beheld her,
     notwithstanding her beauty, to have no sentiments but
     such as were consistent with chastity."

In the eyes of refined modern lovers, every spotless maiden has that
gift of penetrative virginity. The beauty of her face, or the charm of
her character, inspires in him an affection which is as pure, as
chaste, as the love of flowers. But it was only very gradually and
slowly that human beauty gained the power to inspire such a pure love;
the proof of which assertion is to be unfolded in our next section.


"When beauty fires the blood, how love exalts the mind," exclaimed
Dryden; and Romeo asks:

     Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
     For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

In full-fledged romantic love of the masculine type the admiration of
a girl's personal beauty is no doubt the most entrancing ingredient.
But such love is rare even to-day, while in ordinary love-affairs the
sense of beauty does not play nearly so important a role as is
commonly supposed. In woman's love, as everybody knows, the regard for
masculine beauty usually forms an unimportant ingredient; and a man's
love, provided sympathy, adoration, gallantry, self-sacrifice,
affection, and purity enter into it, may be of the genuine romantic
type, even though he has no sense of beauty at all. And this is lucky
for the prospects of love, since, even among the most civilized races
to-day, the number of men and women who, while otherwise refined and
estimable, have no real appreciation of beauty, personal or otherwise,
is astonishingly large.


This being true of the average man and woman among the most cultured
races, we ought to be able to conclude, as a matter of course and
without the necessity of argumentation, that the admiration of
personal beauty has still less to do with the motives that lead a
savage to marry this or that girl, or a savage girl to prefer this or
that suitor. Strange to say, this simple corollary of the doctrine of
evolution has been greatly obscured by Darwin himself, by his theory
of sexual selection, which goes so far as to attribute the beauty of
the male _animals_ to the continued preference by the females of the
more showy males, and the consequent hereditary transmission of their
colors and other ornaments. When we bear in mind how unimportant a
role the regard for personal beauty plays even among the females of
the most advanced human beings, the idea that the females of the lower
animals are guided in their pairing by minute subtle differences in
the beauty of masculine animals seems positively comic. It is an idea
such as could have emanated only from a mind as unesthetic as Darwin's

So far as animals are concerned, Alfred Russell Wallace completely
demolished the theory of sexual selection,[46] after it had created a
great deal of confusion in scientific literature. In regard to the
lower races of man this confusion still continues, and I therefore
wish to demonstrate here, more conclusively than I did in my first
book (60, 61, 327-30), that among primitive men and women, too, the
sense of beauty does not play the important rôle attributed to it in
their love-affairs. "The Influence of Beauty in determining the
Marriages of Mankind" is one of the topics discussed in the _Descent
of Man_. Darwin tries to show that, "especially" during the earlier
period of our long history, the races of mankind were modified by the
continued selection of men by women and women by men in accordance
with their peculiar standards of beauty. He gives some of the numerous
instances showing how savages "ornament" or mutilate their bodies;

     "The motives are various; the men paint their bodies to
     make themselves appear terrible in battle; certain
     mutilations are connected with religious rites, or they
     mark the age of puberty, or the rank of the man, or
     they serve to distinguish the tribes. Among savages the
     same fashions prevail for long periods, and thus
     mutilations, from whatever cause first made, soon come
     to be valued as distinctive marks. _But self-adornment,
     vanity, and the admiration of others seem to be the
     commonest motives_."

Among those who were led astray by these views of Darwin is
Westermarck, who declares (257, 172) that "in every country, in every
race, beauty stimulates passion," and that

     "it seems to be beyond doubt that men and women began to
     ornament, mutilate, paint, and tattoo themselves chiefly in
     order to make themselves attractive to the opposite
     sex--that they might court successfully, or be courted"

--an opinion in which Grosse follows him, in his interesting
treatise on the _Beginnings of Art_ (111, etc.), thereby marring his
chapter on "Personal Decoration." In the following pages I shall show,
on the contrary, that when we subject these primitive customs of
"ornamentation" and mutilation to a critical examination we find in
nearly every case that they are either not at all or only indirectly
(not esthetically), connected with the relations of the sexes; and
that neither does personal beauty exist as a rule among savages, nor
have they the esthetic sense to appreciate its exceptional occurrence.
They nearly always paint, tattoo, decorate, or mutilate themselves
without the least reference to courtship or the desire to please the
other sex. It is the easiest thing in the world to fill page after
page--as Darwin, Westermarck, Grosse, and others have done--with the
remarks of travellers regarding the addiction of savages to personal
"ornamentation"; but this testimony rests, as we shall see, on the
unwarranted assumptions of superficial observers, who, ignorant of the
real reasons why the lower races paint, tattoo, and otherwise "adorn"
themselves, recklessly inferred that they did it to "make themselves
beautiful." The more carefully the customs and traditions of these
races are studied, the more obvious becomes the non-esthetic and
non-erotic origin of their personal "decorations." In my extensive
researches, for every single fact that seemed to favor the sexual
selection theory I have found a hundred against it; and I have become
more and more amazed at the extraordinary _sang froid_ with which its
advocates have ignored the countless facts that speak against it while
boosting into prominence the very few that at first sight appear to
support it. In the following pages I shall attempt to demolish the
theory of sexual selection in reference to the lower races of man as
Wallace demolished it in reference to animals; premising that the mass
of cumulative evidence here presented is only a very small part of
what might be adduced on my side. Let us consider the different
motives for personal "decoration" in succession.


Many of the alleged personal "decorations" of inferior races are
merely measures to protect themselves against climate, insects, etc.
The Maoris of New Zealand besmear themselves with grease and red ochre
as a defence against the sand-flies.[47] The Andaman islanders plaster
themselves with a mixture of lard and colored earth to protect their
skins from heat and mosquitoes.[48] Canadian Indians painted their
faces in winter as a protection against frost-bite. In Patagonia

     "both sexes smear their faces, and occasionally their bodies
     with paint, the Indians alleging as the reasons for using
     this cosmetic that it is a protection against the effects of
     the wind; and I found from personal experience that it
     proved a complete preservative from excoriation or chapped

C. Bock notes that in Sumatra rice powder is lavishly employed by many
of the women, but "not with the object of preserving the complexion or
reducing the color, but to prevent perspiration by closing the pores
of the skin."[50] Baumann says of the African Bakongo that many of
their peculiar ways of arranging the hair "seem to be intended less as
ornamental head-dresses than as a bolster for the burdens they carry
on their heads;"[51] and Squier says that the reason given by the
Nicaraguans for flattening the heads of their children is that they
may be better fitted in adult life to bear burdens.[52]


Equally remote as the foregoing from all ideas of personal beauty or
of courtship and the desire to inspire sexual passion is the custom so
widely prevalent of painting and otherwise "adorning" the body for
war. The Australians diversely made use of red and yellow ochre, or of
white pigment for war paint.[53] Caesar relates that the ancient
Britons stained themselves blue with woad to give themselves a more
horrid aspect in war. "Among ourselves," as Tylor remarks, "the guise
which was so terrific in the Red Indian warrior has comedown to make
the circus clown a pattern of folly,"[54] Regarding Canadian Indians
we read that

     "some may be seen with blue noses, but with cheeks and
     eyebrows black; others mark forehead, nose, and cheeks with
     lines of various colors; one would think he beheld so many
     hobgoblins. They believe that in colors of this description
     they are dreadful to their enemies, and that otherwise their
     own line of battle will be concealed as by a veil; finally,
     that it hardens the skin of the body, so that the cold of
     the winter is easily borne."[55]

The Sioux Indians blackened their faces when they went on the warpath.

     "highly prize personal bravery, and therefore constantly
     wear the marks of distinction which they received for their
     exploits; among these are, especially, tufts of human hair
     attached to the arms and legs, and feathers on their

When Sioux warriors return from the warpath with scalps "the squaws as
well as the men paint with vermilion a semicircle in front of each
ear."[57] North Carolina Indians when going to war painted their faces
all over red, while those of South Carolina, according to DeBrahm,
"painted their faces red in token of friendship and black in
expression of warlike intentions." "Before charging the foe," says
Dorsey, "the Osage warriors paint themselves anew. This is called the
death paint." The Algonquins, on the day of departure for war, dressed
in their best, coloring the hair red and painting their faces and
bodies red and black. The Cherokees when going to war dyed their hair
red and adorned it with feathers of various colors.[58] Bancroft says
(I., 105) that when a Thlinkit arms himself for war he paints his face
and powders his hair a brilliant red. "He then ornaments his head with
a white eagle feather as a token of stern, vindictive determination."

John Adair wrote of the Chickasaws, in 1720, that they "readily know
achievements in war by the blue marks over their breasts and arms,
they being as legible as our alphabetical characters are to us"--which
calls attention to a very frequent use of what are supposed to be
ornaments as merely part of a language of signs. Irving remarks in
_Astoria,_ regarding the Arikara warriors, that "some had the stamp of
a red hand across their mouths, a sign that they had drunk the
life-blood of an enemy." In Schoolcraft we read (II., 58) that among
the Dakotas on St. Peter's River a red hand means that the wearer has
been wounded by an enemy, while a black hand indicates "I have slain
an enemy." The Hidatsa Indians wore eagle feathers "to denote acts of
courage or success in war"; and the Dakotas and others indicated by
means of special spots or colored bars in their feathers or cuts in
them, that the wearer had killed an enemy, or wounded one, or taken a
scalp, or killed a woman, etc. A black feather denoted that an Ojibwa
woman was killed. The marks on their blankets had similar
meanings.[59] Peter Carder, an Englishman captive among the
Brazilians, wrote:

     "This is to be noted, that how many men these savages
     doe kill, so many holes they will have in their visage,
     beginning first in the nether lippe, then in the
     cheekes, thirdly, in both their eye-browes, and lastly
     in their eares."[60]

Of the Abipones we read that,

     "distrusting their courage, strength, and arms, they
     think that paint of various colors, feathers, shouting,
     trumpets, and other instruments of terror will forward
     their success."[61]

Fancourt(314) says of the natives of Yucatan that "in their wars, and
when they went to their sacrificial dances and festivals, they had
their faces, arms, thighs, and legs painted and naked." In Fiji the
men bore a hole through the nose and put in a couple of feathers, nine
to twelve inches long, which spread out over each side of the face
like immense mustaches. They do this "to give themselves a fiercer
appearance."[62] Waitz notes that in Tahiti mothers compressed the
heads of their infant boys "to make their aspect more terrible and
thus turn them into more formidable warriors." The Tahitians, as Ellis
informs us, "went to battle in their best clothes, sometimes perfumed
with fragrant oil, and adorned with flowers."[63] Of the wild tribes
in Kondhistan, too, we read that "it is only, however, when they go
out to battle ... that they adorn themselves with all their


The African tribes along the Congo wear on their bodies

     "the horn, the hoof, the hair, the teeth, and the bones of
     all manner of quadrupeds; the feathers, beaks, claws,
     skulls, and bones of birds; the heads and skins of snakes;
     the shells and fins of fishes, pieces of old iron, copper,
     wood, seeds of plants, and sometimes a mixture of all, or
     most of them, strung together."

Unsophisticated travellers speak of these things as "ornaments"
indicating the strange "sense of beauty" of these natives. In reality,
they have nothing to do with the sense of beauty, but are merely a
manifestation of savage superstition. In Tuckey's _Zaire_, from which
the above citation is made (375), they are properly classed as
fetiches, and the information is added that in the choice of them the
natives consult the fetich men. A picture is given in the book of one
appendage to the dress "which the weaver considered an infallible
charm against poison." Others are "considered as protection against
the effects of thunder and lightning, against the attacks of the
alligator, the hippopotamus, snakes, lions, tigers," etc., etc.
Winstanley relates (II., 68) that in Abyssinia

     "the Mateb, or baptismal cord, is _de rigueur_, and worn
     when nothing else is. It formed the only clothing of the
     young at Seramba, but was frequently added to with amulets,
     sure safeguards against sorcery."

Concerning the Bushmen, Mackenzie says:

     "Certain marks on the face, or bits of wood on his hair, or
     tied around his neck, are medicines or charms to be taken in
     sickness, or proximity to lions, or in other circumstances
     of danger."[65]

Bastian relates that in many parts of Africa every infant is tattooed
on the belly, to dedicate it thereby to a certain fetich.[66] The
inland negroes mark all sorts of patterns on their skins, partly "to
expel evil influences."[67] The Nicaraguans punctured and scarified
their tongues because, as they explained to Oviedo, it would bring
them luck in bargains. The Peruvians, says Cieza, pulled out three
teeth of each jaw in children of very tender age because that would be
acceptable to the gods; and Garcilassa notes that the Peruvians pulled
out a hair of an eyebrow when making an offering. Jos. d'Acosta also
describes how the Peruvians pulled out eyelashes and eyebrows and
offered them to the deities. The natives of Yucatan, according to
Fancourt, wore their hair long as "a sign of idolatry."[68] When
Franklin relates that Chippewayan Indians "prize pictures very highly
and esteem any they can get," we seem to have come across a genuine
esthetic sense, till we read that it makes no difference how badly
they are executed, and that they are valued "as efficient charms."[69]
All Abipones of both sexes

     "pluck up the hair from the forehead to the crown of the
     head, so that the forepart of the head is bald almost for
     the space of two inches; this baldness they ... account a
     religious mark of their nation."[70]

The Point Barrow Eskimos believe that clipping their hair on the back
of the head in a certain way "prevents snow-blindness in the spring."
These Eskimos painted their faces when they went whaling, and the
Kadiaks did so before any important undertaking, such as crossing a
wide strait, chasing the sea-otter, etc.[71] In regard to the amulets
or charms worn by Eskimos, Crantz says:

     "These powerful preventives consist in a bit of old wood
     hung around their necks, or a stone, or a bone, or a beak or
     claw of a bird, or else a leather strap tied round their
     forehead, breast, or arm."[72]

Marcano says that "the Indians of French Guiana paint themselves in
order to drive away the devil when they start on a journey or for
war."[73] In his treatise on the religion of the Dakotas, Lynd

     "Scarlet or red is the religious color for sacrifices....
     The use of paint, the Dakotas aver, was taught them by the
     gods. Unkteh taught the first medicine men how to paint
     themselves when they worshipped him and what colors to use.
     Takushkanshkan (the moving god) whispers to his favorites
     what colors to use. Heyoka hovers over them in dreams, and
     informs them how many streaks to employ upon their bodies
     and the tinge they must have. No ceremony of worship is
     complete without the wakan, or sacred application of

By the Tasmanians "the bones of relatives were worn around the neck,
less, perhaps, as ornaments than as charms."[75] The Ainos of Japan
and the Fijians held that tattooing was a custom introduced by the
gods. Fijian women believed "that to be tattooed is a passport to the
other world, where it prevents them from being persecuted by their own
sex."[76] An Australian custom ordained that every person must have
the septum of the nose pierced and must wear in it a piece of bone, a
reed, or the stalks of some grass. This was not done, however, with
the object of adorning the person, but for superstitious reasons: "the
old men used to predict to those who were averse to this mutilation
all kinds of evil." The sinner, they said, would suffer in the next
world by having to eat filth. "To avoid a punishment so horrible, each
one gladly submitted, and his or her nose was pierced accordingly."
(Brough Smyth, 274.) Wilhelmi says that in the Northwest the men place
in the head-band behind the ears pieces of wood decorated with very
thin shavings and looking like plumes of white feathers. They do this
"on occasions of rejoicings and when engaged in their mystic
ceremonies." Nicaraguans trace the custom of flattening the heads of
children to instructions from the gods, and Pelew Islanders believed
that to win eternal bliss the septum of the nose must be perforated,
while Eskimo girls were induced to submit to having long stitches made
with a needle and black thread on several parts of the face by the
superstitious fear that if they refused they would, after death, be
turned into train tubs and placed under the lamps in heaven.[77] In
order that the ghost of a Sioux Indian may travel the ghost road in
safety, it is necessary for each Dakota during his life to be tattooed
in the middle of the forehead or on the wrists. If found without
these, he is pushed from a cloud or cliff and falls back to this
world.[78] In Australia, the Kurnai medicine men were supposed to be
able to communicate with ghosts only when they had certain bones
thrust through the nose.[79] The _American Anthropologist_ contains
(July, 1889) a description of the various kinds of face-coloring to
indicate degrees in the Grand Medicine Society of the Ojibwa. These
Indians frequently tattooed temples, forehead, or cheeks of sufferers
from headache or toothache, in the belief that this would expel the
demons who cause the pain. In Congo, scarifications are made on the
back for therapeutic reasons; and in Timor-Laut (Malay Archipelago),
both sexes tattooed themselves "in imitation of immense smallpox
marks, in order to ward off that disease."[80]


Australian women of the Port Lincoln tribes paint a ring around each
eye and a streak over the stomach, and men mark their breasts with
stripes and paints in different patterns. An ignorant observer, or an
advocate of the sexual selection theory, would infer that these
"decorations" are resorted to for the purpose of ornamentation, to
please individuals of the opposite sex. But Wilhelmi, who understood
the customs of these tribes, explains that these divers stripes and
paints have a practical object, being used to "indicate the different
degrees of relationship between a dead person and the mourners."[81]
In South Australia widows in mourning "shave their heads, cover them
with a netting, and plaster them with pipe-clay"[82]. A white band
around the brow is also used as a badge of mourning[83]. Taplin says
that the Narrinyeri adorn the bodies of the dead with bright-red
ochre, and that this is a wide-spread custom in Australia. A Dyeri, on
being asked why he painted red and white spots on his skin, answered:
"Suppose me no make-im, me tumble down too; that one [the corpse]
growl along-a-me." A further "ornament" of the women on these
occasions consists in two white streaks on the arm to indicate that
they have eaten some of the fat of the dead, according to their
custom. (Smyth, I., 120.) In some districts the mourners paint
themselves white on the death of a blood relation, and black when a
relative by marriage dies. The corpse is often painted red. Red is
used too when boys are initiated into manhood, and with most tribes it
is also the war-color. Hence it is not strange that they should
undertake long journeys to secure fresh supplies of ochre: for war,
mourning, and superstition are three of the strongest motives of
savage activity. African Bushmen anoint the heads of the dead with a
red powder mixed with melted fat. Hottentots, when mourning, shave
their heads in furrows. Damaras wear a dark-colored skin-cap: a piece
of leather round the neck, to which is attached a piece of ostrich
egg-shell. Coast negroes bury the head of a family in his best clothes
and ornaments, and Dahomans do the same[84]. Schweinfurth says that
"according to the custom, which seems to belong to all Africa, as a
sign of grief the Dinka wear a cord round the neck."[85] Mourning New
Zealanders tie a red cloth round the head or wear headdresses of dark
feathers. New Caledonians cut off their hair and blacken and oil their
faces[85]. Hawaiians cut their hair in various forms, knock out a
front tooth, cut the ears and tattoo a spot on the tongue[86]. The
Mineopies use three coloring substances for painting their bodies; and
by the way they apply them they let it be known whether a person is
ill or in mourning, or going to a festival.[87] In California the
Yokaia widows make an unguent with which they smear a white band two
inches wide all around the edge of the hair[88]. Of the Yukon Indians
of Alaska "some wore hoops of birch wood around the neck and waists,
with various patterns of figures cut on them. These were said to be
emblems of mourning for the dead."[89] Among the Snanaimuq "the face
of the deceased is painted with red and black paint... After the death
of husband or wife the survivor must paint his legs and his blanket
red."[90] Numerous other instances may be found in Mallery, who
remarks that "many objective modes of showing mourning by styles of
paint and markings are known, the significance of which are apparent
when discovered in pictographs."[91]


Among the customs which, in Darwin's opinion, show "how widely the
different races of man differ in their taste for the beautiful," is
that of moulding the skull of infants into various unnatural shapes,
in some cases making the head "appear to us idiotic." One would think
that before accepting such a monstrous custom as evidence of any kind
of a sense of beauty, Darwin, and those who expressed the same opinion
before and after him, would have inquired whether there is not some
more rational way of accounting for the admiration of deformed heads
by these races than by assuming that they approved of them for
_esthetic_ reasons. There is no difficulty in finding several
non-esthetic reasons why peculiarly moulded skulls were approved of.
The Nicaraguans, as I have already stated, believed that heads were
moulded in order to make it easier to bear burdens, and the Peruvians
also said they pressed the heads of children to make them healthier
and able to do more work. But vanity--individual or tribal--and
fashion were the principal motives. According to Torquemada, the kings
were the first who had their heads shaped, and afterward permission to
follow their example was granted to others as a special favor. In
their classical work on Peruvian antiquities (31-32) Eivero and
Tschudi describe the skulls they examined., including many varieties
"artificially produced, and differing according to their respective

     "These irregularities were undoubtedly produced by
     mechanical causes, and were considered as the _distinctive
     marks of families_; for in one Huaca [cemetery] will always
     be found the same form of crania; while in another, near by,
     the forms are entirely different from those in the first."

The custom of flattening the head was practised by various Indian
tribes, especially in the Pacific States, and Bancroft (I., 180) says
that, "all seem to admire a flattened forehead as _a sign of noble
birth_;" and on p. 228, he remarks:

     "Failure properly to mould the cranium of her offspring
     gives the Chinook matron the reputation of a lazy and
     un-dutiful mother, and subjects the neglected children to
     the ridicule of their companions; so despotic is fashion."

The Arab races of Africa alter the shapes of their children's heads
because they are jealous of their noble descent. (Bastian, _D.M_.,
II., 229.)

"The genuine Turkish skull," says Tylor _(Anth.,_ 240),

     "is of the broad Tatar form, while the natives of Greece and
     Asia Minor have oval skulls, which gives the reason why at
     Constantinople it became the fashion to mould the babies'
     skulls round, so that they grew up with the broad head of
     the conquering race. Relics of such barbarism linger on in
     the midst of civilization, and not long ago a French
     physician surprised the world by the fact that nurses in
     Normandy were still giving the children's heads a sugar-loaf
     shape by bandages and a tight cap, while in Brittany they
     preferred to press it round."

Knocking out some of the teeth, or filing them into certain shapes, is
another widely prevalent custom, for which it is inadmissible to
invoke a monstrous and problematic esthetic taste as long as it can be
accounted for on simpler and less disputable grounds, such as vanity,
the desire for tribal distinction, or superstition. Holub found (II.,
259), that in one of the Makololo tribes it was customary to break out
the top incisor teeth, for the reason that it is "only horses that eat
with all their teeth, and that men ought not to eat like horses." In
other cases it is not contempt for animals but respect for them that
accounts for the knocking out of teeth. Thus Livingstone relates
_(L. Tr_., II., 120), in speaking of a boy from Lomaine, that "the

upper teeth extracted seemed to say that the tribe have cattle. The
knocking out of the teeth is in imitation of the animals they almost
worship." The Batokas also give as their reason for knocking out their
upper front teeth that they wish to be like oxen. Livingstone tells us
_(Zamb.,_ 115), that the Manganja chip their teeth to resemble those
of the cat or crocodile: which suggests totemism, or superstitious
respect for an animal chosen as an emblem of a tribe. That the
Australian custom of knocking out the upper front teeth at puberty is
part of a religious ceremonial, and not the outcome of a desire to
make the boys attractive to the girls, as Westermarck naïvely assumes
(174, 172), is made certain by the details given in Mallery (1888-89,
513-514), including an excerpt from a manuscript by A.W. Howitt, in
which it is pointed out that the humming instrument kuamas, the
bull-roarer, "has a sacred character with all the Australian tribes;"
and that there are marked on it "two notches, one at each end,
representing the gap left in the upper jaw of the novice after his
teeth have been knocked out during the rites."[92] But perhaps the
commonest motive for altering the teeth is the desire to indicate
tribal connections. "Various tribes," says Tylor _(Anthr._ 240),
"grind their front teeth to points, or cut them away in angular
patterns, so that in Africa and elsewhere a man's tribe is often known
by the cut of his teeth."

Peculiar arrangements of the hair also have misled unwary observers
into fancying that they were made for beauty's sake and to attract the
opposite sex, when in reality they were tribal marks or had other
utilitarian purposes, serving as elements in a language of signs, etc.
Frazer, _e.g._, notes (27) that the turtle clan of the Omaha Indians
cuts off all the hair from a boy's head except six locks which hang
down in imitation of the legs, head, and tail of a turtle; while the
Buffalo clan arranges two locks of hair in imitation of horns. "Nearly
all the Indian tribes," writes Mallery (419), "have peculiarities of
the arrangement of the hair and of some article of apparel or
accoutrement by which they can always be distinguished." Heriot
relates (294) that among the Indians

     "the fashion of trimming the hair varies in a great degree,
     and an enemy may by this means be discovered at a
     considerable distance." "The Pueblos generally, when
     accurate and particular in delineation [pictographs],
     designate the women of that tribe by a huge coil of hair
     over either ear. This custom prevails also among the
     Coyotèro Apaches, the woman wearing the hair in coil to
     denote a virgin or an unmarried person, while the coil is
     absent in the case of a married woman."

By the Mokis, maidenhood is indicated by wearing the hair as a disk on
each side of the head. (Mallery, 231-32.) Similar usages on other
continents might be cited.

Besides these arbitrary modifications of the skull and the teeth, and
the divers arrangements of the hair, there are various other ways in
which the lower races indicate tribal connection, rank, or other
conditions. Writing about negroes Burton says _(Abeok.,_ I., 106),
that lines, welts, and all sorts of skin patterns are used, partly for
superstitious reasons, partly to mark the different tribes and
families. "A volume would not suffice to explain all the marks in
detail." Of the Dahomans, Forbes says (I., 28), "that _according to
rank and wealth_ anklets and armlets of all metals, and necklaces of
glass, coral, and Popae beads, are worn by both sexes." Livingstone
relates _(Mis. Trav_., 276) that the copper rings worn on their ankles
by the chiefs of Londa were so large and heavy that they seriously
inconvenienced them in walking. That this custom was entirely an
outcome of vanity and emulation, and not a manifestation of the
esthetic sense, is made clear by the further observations of
Livingstone. Men who could not afford so many of these copper rings
would still, he found, strut along as if they had them. "That is the
way," he was informed, "in which they show off their lordship in these
parts." Among the Mojave Indians "nose-jewels designate a man of
wealth and rank," and elaborate headdresses of feathers are the
insignia of the chiefs[93]. Champlain says that among the Iroquois
those who wore three large plumes were chiefs. In Thurn says (305)
that each of the Guiana tribes makes its feather head-dresses of
special colors; and Martins has the following regarding the Brazilian
Indians: "Commonly all the members of a tribe, or a horde, or a
family, agree to wear certain ornaments or signs as characteristic
marks." Among these are various ornaments of feathers on the head,
pieces of wood, stones, or shells, in the ears, the nose, and lips,
and especially tattoo marks.


Thus we see that an immense number of mutilations of the body and
alleged "decorations" of it are not intended by these races as things
of beauty, but have special meanings or uses in connection with
protection, war, superstition, mourning, or the desire to mark
distinctions between the tribes, or degrees of rank within one tribe
or horde. Usually the "ornamentations" are prescribed for all members
of a tribe of the same sex, and their acceptance is rigidly enforced.
At the same time there is scope for variety in the form of deviations
or exaggerations, and these are resorted to by ambitious individuals
to attract attention to their important selves, and thus to gratify
vanity, which, in the realm of fashion, is a thing entirely apart
from--and usually antagonistic to--the sense of beauty[94]. At
Australian dances various colors are used with the object of
attracting attention. Especially fantastic are their "decorations" at
the corroborees, when the bodies of the men are painted with white
streaks that make them look like skeletons. Bulmer believed that their
object was to "make themselves as terrible as possible to the
beholders and not beautiful or attractive," while Grosse thinks (65)
that as these dances usually take place by moonlight, the object of
the stripes is to make the dancers more conspicuous--two explanations
which are not inconsistent with each other.

Fry relates[95] that the Khonds adorn their hair till they may be seen
"intoxicated with vanity on its due decoration." Hearne (306) saw
Indians who had a single lock of hair that "when let down would trail
on the ground as they walked." Anderson expresses himself with
scientific precision when he writes (136) that in Fiji the men "who
like to _attract the attention_ of the opposite sex, don their best
plumage." The attention may be attracted by anything that is
conspicuous, entirely apart from the question whether it be regarded
as a thing of beauty or not. Bourne makes the very suggestive
statement (69-70) that in Patagonia the beautiful plumage of the
ostrich was not appreciated, but allowed to blow all over the country,
while the natives adorned themselves with beads and cheap brass and
copper trinkets. We may therefore assume that in those cases where
feathers are used for "adornment" it is not because their beauty is
appreciated but because custom has given them a special significance.
In many cases they indicate that the wearer is a person of rank--chief
or medicine man--as we saw in the preceding pages. We also saw that
special marks in feathers among Dakotas indicated that the wearer had
taken a human life, which, more than anything else, excites the
admiration of savage women; so that what fascinates them in such a
case is not the feather itself but the deed it stands for.
Panlitzschke informs us (_E.N.O.Afr.,_ chap. ii.), that among the
African Somali and Gallas every man who had killed someone, boastfully
wore an ostrich feather on his head to call attention to his deed. The
Danâkil wore these feathers for the same purpose, adding ivory rods in
their ear-lobes and fastening a bunch of white horsehair to their
shield. A strip of red silk round the forehead served the same
purpose. Lumholtz, describing a festival dance in Australia (237),
says that some of the men hold in their mouths tufts of talegalla
feathers "for the purpose of giving themselves a savage look." By some
Australians bunches of hawk's or eagle's feathers are worn "either
when fighting or dancing, and also used as a fan" (Brough Smyth, I.,
281-282), which suggests the thought that the fantastic head-dresses
of feathers, etc., often seen in warm countries, may be worn as
protection against the sun[96].

I doubt, too, whether the lower races are able to appreciate flowers
esthetically as we do, apart from their fragrance, which endears them
to some barbarians of the higher grades. Concerning Australian women
we find it recorded by Brough Smyth (I., 270) that they seem to have
no love of flowers, and do not use them to adorn their persons. A New
Zealander explained his indifference to flowers by declaring that they
were "not good to eat."[97] Other Polynesians were much given to
wearing flowers on the head and body; but whether this was for
_esthetic_ reasons seems to me doubtful on account of the revelations
made by various missionaries and others. In Ellis, _e.g._ (_P.R._, I.,
114), we read that in Tahiti the use of flowers in the hair, and
fragrant oil, has been in a great degree discontinued, "partly from
the connection of these ornaments with the evil practices to which
they were formerly addicted."


So far tattooing has been mentioned only incidentally; but as it is
one of the most widely prevalent methods of primitive personal
"decoration" a few pages must be devoted to it in order to ascertain
whether it is true that it is one of those ornamentations which, as
Darwin would have us believe, help to determine the marriages of
mankind, or, as Westermarck puts it, "men and women began to... tattoo
themselves chiefly in order to make themselves attractive to the
opposite sex--that they might court successfully, or be courted." We
shall find that, on the contrary, tattooing has had from the earliest
recorded times more than a dozen practical purposes, and that its use
as a stimulant of the passion of the opposite sex probably never
occurred to a savage until it was suggested to him by a philosophizing

Twenty-four centuries ago Herodotus not only noted that the Thracians
had punctures on their skins, but indicated the reason for them: they
are, he said, "a mark of nobility: to be without them is a testimony
of mean descent."[98] This use of skin disfigurements prevails among
the lower races to the present day, and it is only one of many
utilitarian and non-esthetic functions subserved by them. In his
beautifully illustrated volume on Maori tattooing, Major-General
Robley writes:

     "Native tradition has it that their first settlers used to
     mark their faces for battle with charcoal, and that the
     lines on the face thus made were the beginnings of the
     tattoo. To save the trouble of this constantly painting
     their warlike decorations on the face, the lines were made
     permanent. Hence arose the practice of carving the face and
     the body with dyed incisions. The Rev. Mr. Taylor ...
     assumes that the chiefs being of a lighter race, and having
     to fight side by side with slaves of darker hues, darkened
     their faces in order to appear of the same race."


When Captain Cook visited New Zealand (1769) he was much interested in
the tattooing of the Maoris, and noted that each tribe seemed to have
a different custom in regard to it; thus calling attention to one of
its main functions as a means to distinguish the tribes from each
other. He described the different patterns on divers parts of the body
used by various tribes, and made the further important observation
that "by adding to the tattooing they grow old and honorable at the
same time." The old French navigator d'Urville found in the Maori
tattooing an analogy to European heraldry, with this difference: that
whereas the coat-of-arms attests the merits of ancestors, the Maori
moko illustrates the merits of the persons decorated with it. It makes
them, as Robley wittily says, "men of mark." One chief explained that
a certain mark just over his nose was his name; it served the purposes
of a seal in signing documents. It has been suggested that the body of
a warrior may have been tattooed for the sake of identification in
case the head was separated from it; for the Maoris carried on a
regular trade in heads. Rutherford, who was held for a long time as a
captive, said that only the great ones of the tribe were allowed to
decorate the forehead, upper lip, and chin. Naturally such marks were
"a source of pride" (a sign of rank), and "the chiefs were very
pleased to show the tattooing on their bodies." To have an untattooed
face was to be "a poor nobody." Ellis (_P.R._, III., 263) puts the
matter graphically by saying the New Zealander's tattooing answers the
purpose of the particular stripe or color of the Highlander's plaid,
marking the clan or tribe to which they belong, and is also said to be
employed as "a means of enabling them to distinguish their enemies in

In his great work on Borneo (II., 83), Roth cites Brooke Low, who said
that tattooing was a custom of recent introduction: "I have seen a few
women with small patterns on their breasts, but they were the
exception to the rule and were not regarded with favor." Burns says
that the Kayan men do not tattoo, but

     "many of the higher classes have small figures of stars,
     beasts, or birds on various parts of their body, chiefly the
     arms, distinctive of rank. The highest mark is that of
     having the back of the hands colored or tattooed, which is
     only conferred on the brave in battle."

St. John says that "a man is supposed to tattoo one finger only, if he
has been present when an enemy has been killed, but tattoos hand and
fingers if he has taken an enemy's head." Among the Ida'an a man makes
a mark on his arm for each enemy slain. One man was seen with
thirty-seven such stripes on the arm. A successful head-hunter is also
allowed to "decorate" his ears with the canine teeth of a Bornean
leopard. "In some cases tatu marks appear to be used as a means of
communicating a fact," writes Roth (II., 291). Among the Kayan it
indicates rank. Slaughter of an enemy, or mere murder of a slave, are
other reasons for tattooing. "A Murut, having run away from the enemy,
was tatued on his back. So that we may justly conclude that tatuing
among the natives of Borneo is one method of writing." Among the Dusun
the men that took heads generally had a tattoo mark for each one on
the arm, and were looked upon as very brave, though their victim might
have been only a woman or a child (159).

In the fifth volume of Waitz-Gerland's _Anthropologie_ (Pt. II.,
64-67), a number of authors are cited testifying that in the
Micronesian Archipelago the natives of each island had special kinds
of tattoo marks on different parts of the body, to distinguish them
from others. These marks were named after the islands. The
Micronesians themselves attached also a religious significance to
these marks. The natives of Tobi believed that their island would be
destroyed if the English visitors who came among them were not at once
tattooed. Only those completely marked could enter the temple. The men
were more tattooed than the women, who were regarded as inferiors.

In the sixth volume of Waitz-Gerland (30-40) is gathered a large mass
of evidence, all of which shows that on the Polynesian islands, too,
tattooing was indulged in, not for aesthetic and amorous but for
religious and practical reasons. In Tonga it was a mark of rank, not
permitted to common people or to slaves. Not to be tattooed was
considered improper. In the Marquesas the older and more distinguished
a man, the more he was tattooed. Married women were distinguished by
having marks on the right hand and left foot. In some cases tattoo
marks were used as signs to call to mind certain battles or festivals.
A woman in Ponapé had marks for all her successive husbands made on
her arm--everything and anything, in fact, except the purpose of
decorating for the sake of attracting the other sex. Gerland (33-40)
makes out a very strong case for the religions origin of tattooing,
which he aptly compares to our confirmation.

In Samoa the principal motive of tattooing seems to have been
licentiousness. It was prohibited by the chiefs on account of the
obscene practices always connected with it, and there is a legend of
the incestuous designs of two divine brothers on their sister which
was successful.

     "Tattooing thus originated among the gods and was first
     practised by the children of Taaroa, their principal deity.
     In imitation of their example, and for the accomplishment of
     the same purpose, it was practised among men." (Ellis,
     _P.R._, I., 262.)


On the American continent we find tattooing practised from north to
south, from east to west, for the most diverse reasons, among which
the desire to facilitate courtship is never even hinted at. The
Eskimos, about the age of puberty, apply paint and tattooing to their
faces, cut holes and insert plugs or labrets. The object of these
disfigurements is indicated by Bancroft (I., 48): "Different tribes,
and different ranks of the same tribe, have each their peculiar form
of tattooing." Moreover, "these operations are supposed to possess
some significance other than that of mere ornament. Upon the occasion
of piercing the lip, for instance, a religious feast is given." John
Murdoch relates (Mallery, 396) that the wife of an Eskimo chief had "a
little mark tattooed in each corner of her mouth, which she said were
'whale marks,' indicating that she was the wife of a successful
whaleman." Of the Kadiaks Bancroft says (72): "The more the female
chin is riddled with holes, the greater the respectability." Among the
Chippewayan Indians Mackenzie found (85) that both sexes had "blue or
black bars, or from one to four straight lines, on their cheeks or
foreheads to distinguish the tribe to which they belong." Swan writes
(Mallery, 1882-83, 67) that

     "the tattoo marks of the Haidas are heraldic designs or the
     family totem, or crests of the wearers, and are similar to
     the carvings depicted in the pillars and monuments around
     the homes of the chiefs."

A Haida Indian remarked to Swan (69): "If you were tattooed with the
design of a swan, the Indians would know your family name." It is at
festivals and masquerade performances, says the same writer, that "the
tatoo marks show with the best effect, and the rank and family
connection [are] known by the variety of design," Lafitan reports
(II., 43) regarding the Iroquois and Algonquins that the designs which
they have tattooed on their faces and bodies are employed as
hieroglyphics, writing, and records, to indicate victories, etc. The
designs tattooed on an Indian's face or body distinguish him, he adds,
as we do a family by its armorial bearings.

     "In James's Long it is reported that the Omahas are often
     neatly tattooed.... The daughters of chiefs and those of
     wealthy Indians generally are denoted by a small round spot
     tattooed on the forehead."

(Mallery, 1888-89, 395.) Bossu says regarding the practice of
tattooing by the Osages (in 1756): "It is a kind of knighthood to
which they are only entitled by great actions." Blue marks tattooed
upon the chin of a Mojave woman indicate that she is married. The
Serrano Indians near Los Angeles had, as late as 1843, a custom of
having special tattoo marks on themselves which were also made on
trees to indicate the corner boundaries of patches of land. (Mallery,
1882-83, 64, 182.) In his book on the California Indians, Powers
declares (109) that in the Mattoal tribe the men tattoo themselves; in
the others the women alone tattoo. The theory that the women are thus
marked in order that the men may be able to recognize them and redeem
them from captivity seems plausible for the reasons that these Indians
are rent into a great number of divisions and that "the squaws almost
never attempt any ornamental tattooing, but adhere closely to the
plain regulation mark of the tribe." The Hupâ Indians have discovered
another practical use for body-marks. Nearly every man has ten lines
tattooed across the inside of his left arm, and these lines serve as a
measurement of shell-money.

The same non-esthetic motives for tattooing prevail in South and
Central America. In Agassiz's book on Brazil we read (318) concerning
the Mundurucu Indians:

     "Major Coutinho tells us that the tattooing _has nothing to
     do with individual taste_, but that the pattern is appointed
     for both sexes, and is _invariable throughout the tribe_. It
     is connected with their caste, the limits of which are very
     precise, and with their religion."

The tattooing "is also an indication of aristocracy; a man who
neglected this distinction would not be respected in his tribe."
Concerning the Indians of Guiana we read in Im Thurn (195-96) that
they have small distinctive tribal marks tattooed at the corners of
the mouth or on the arms. Nearly all have "indelibly excised lines"
which are

     "scars originally made for _surgical_, not ornamental
     purposes." "Some women specially affect certain little
     figures, like Chinese characters, which looks as if some
     meaning were attached to them, but which the Indians are
     either unable or unwilling to explain."

In Nicaragua, as Squire informs us (III., 341), the natives tattooed
themselves to designate by special marks the tribes to which they
belonged; and as regards Yucatan, Landa writes (§ XXI.) that as
tattooing was accompanied by much pain, they thought themselves the
more gallant and strong the more they indulged in it; and that those
who omitted it were sneered at--which gives us still another motive
for tattooing--the fear of being despised and ridiculed for not being
in fashion.


Many more similar details might be given regarding the races of
various parts of the world, but the limits of space forbid. But I
cannot resist the temptation to add a citation from Professor
Chamberlain's article on tattooing in his _Things Japanese_, because
it admirably illustrates the diversity of the motives that led to the
practice. A Chinese trader, "early in the Christian era," Chamberlain
tells us, "wrote that the men all tattoo their faces and ornament
their bodies with designs, differences of rank being indicated by the
position and size of the patterns." "But from the dawn of regular
history," Chamberlain adds,

     "far down into the middle ages, tattooing seems to have been
     confined to criminals. It was used as branding was formerly
     in Europe, whence probably the contempt still felt for
     tattooing by the Japanese upper classes. From condemned
     desperadoes to bravoes at large is but a step. The
     swashbucklers of feudal times took to tattooing, apparently
     because some blood and thunder scene of adventure, engraven
     on their chest and limbs, helped to give them a terrific air
     when stripped for any reason of their clothes. Other classes
     whose avocations led them to baring their bodies in public
     followed--the carpenters, for instance, and running grooms;
     and the tradition remained of ornamenting almost the entire
     body and limbs with a hunting, theatrical, or other showy

Shortly after 1808 "the government made tattooing a penal offence."

It will be noticed that in this account the fantastic notion that the
custom was ever indulged in for the purpose of beautifying the body in
order to attract the other sex is, as in all the other citations I
have made, not even hinted at. The same is true in the summary made by
Mallery of the seventeen purposes of tattooing he found. No. 13 is,
indeed, "to charm the other sex;" but it is "magically," which is a
very different thing from esthetically. I append the summary (418):

     "1, to distinguish between free and slave, without reference
     to the tribe of the latter; 2, to distinguish between a high
     and low status in the same tribe; 3, as a certificate of
     bravery exhibited by supporting the ordeal of pain; 4, as
     marks of personal prowess, particularly; 5, as a record of
     achievements in war; 6, to show religious symbols; 7, as a
     therapeutic remedy for disease; 8, as a prophylactic against
     disease; 9, as a brand of disgrace; 10, as a token of a
     woman's marriage, or, sometimes, 11, of her marriageable
     condition; 12, identification of the person, not as a
     tribesman, but as an individual; 13, to charm the other sex
     magically; 14, to inspire fear in the enemy; 15, to
     magically render the skin impenetrable to weakness; 16, to
     bring good fortune, and, 17, as the device of a secret


Dark races, like the Africans and Australians, do not practise
tattooing, because the marks would not show conspicuously on their
black skins. They therefore resort to the process of raising scars by
cutting the skin with flint or a shell and then rubbing in earth, or
the juice of certain plants, etc. The result is a permanent scar, and
these scars are arranged by the different tribes in different
patterns, on divers parts of the body. In Queensland the lines,
according to Lumholtz (177),

     "always denote a certain order of rank, and here it depends
     upon age. Boys under a certain age are not decorated; but in
     time they receive a few cross-stripes upon their chests and
     stomachs. The number of stripes is gradually increased, and
     when the subjects have grown up, a half-moon-shaped line is
     cut around each nipple."

The necessity for such distinctive marks on the body is particularly
great among the Australians, because they are subdivided in the most
complicated ways and have an elaborate code of sexual permissions and
prohibitions. Therefore, as Frazer suggests (38),

     "a chief object of these initiation ceremonies was to teach
     the youths with whom they might or might not have
     connection, and to put them in possession of a visible
     language,  ... by means of which they might be able to
     communicate their totems to, and to ascertain the totems of,
     strangers whose language they did not understand."

In Africa, too, as we have seen, the scars are used as tribal names,
and for other practical purposes. Holub (7) found that the Koranna of
Central South Africa has three cuts on the chest. They confessed to
him that they indicated a kind of free-masonry, insuring their being
well received by Koranna everywhere. On the Congo, scarifications are
made on the back for therapeutic reasons, and on the face as tribal
marks. (Mallery, 417; H. Ward, 136.) Bechuana priests make long scars
on a warrior's thigh to indicate that he has slain an enemy in battle.
(Lichtenstein, II., 331.) According to d'Albertis the people of New
Guinea use some scars as a sign that they have travelled (I., 213).
And so on, _ad infinitum_.


In face of this imposing array of facts revealing the non-esthetic
character of primitive personal "decorations," what have the advocates
of the sexual selection theory to say? Taking Westermarck as their
most erudite and persuasive spokesman, we find him placing his
reliance on four things: (1) the practical ignoring of the vast
multitude of facts contradicting his theory; (2) the alleged testimony
of a few savages; (3) the testimony of some of their visitors; (4) the
alleged fact that "the desire for self-decoration is strongest at the
beginning of the age of puberty," the customs of ornamenting,
mutilating, painting, and tattooing being "practised most zealously at
that period of life." Concerning (1) nothing more need be said, as the
large number of decisive facts I have collected exposes and
neutralizes that stratagem. The other three arguments must be briefly

A native of Lukunor being asked by Mertens what was the meaning of
tattooing, answered: "It has the same object as your clothes; that is,
to please the women," In reply to the question why he wore his
ornaments, an Australian answered Bulmer: "In order to look well and
make himself agreeable to the women," (Brough Smyth, I., 275.) To one
who has studied savages not only anthropologically but
psychologically, these stories have an obvious cock-and-bull aspect. A
native of the Caroline Islands would have been as incapable of
originating that philosophical comparison between the object of our
clothes and of his tattooing as he would have been of writing
Carlyle's _Sartor Resartus_. Human beings in his stage of evolution
never consciously reflect on the reasons of things, and considerations
of comparative psychology or esthetics are as much beyond his mental
powers as problems in algebra or trigonometry. That such a sailor's
yarn could be accepted seriously in an anthropologic treatise shows
that anthropology is still in its cradle. The same is true of that
Australian's alleged answer. The Australian is unequal to the mental
effort of counting up to ten, and, like other savages, is easily
fatigued by the simplest questions[99]. It is quite likely that Bulmer
asked that native whether he ornamented himself "in order to look well
and make himself agreeable to the women," and that the native answered
"yes" merely to gratify him or to get rid of the troublesome question.

The books of missionaries are full of such cases, and no end of
confusion has been created in science by such false "facts." The
answer given by that native is, moreover, utterly opposed to all the
well-attested details I have given in the preceding pages regarding
the real motives of Australians in "decorating" themselves; and to
those facts I may now add this crushing testimony from Brough Smyth
(_I.,_ 270):

     "The proper arrangement of their apparel, the ornamentation
     of their persons by painting, and attention to deportment,
     were important only when death struck down a warrior, when
     war was made, and when they assembled for a corroboree. In
     ordinary life little attention was given to the ornamenting
     of the person."


"The Australians throughout the continent scar their persons, as Mr.
Curr assures us, only as a means of decoration," writes Westermarck
(169), and in the pages preceding and following he cites other
evidence of the same sort, such as Carver's assertion that the
Naudowessies paint their faces red and black, "which they esteem as
greatly ornamental;" Tuckey's assumption that the natives of the Congo
file their teeth and raise scars on the skin for purposes of ornament
and principally "with the idea of rendering themselves agreeable to
the women;" Kiedel's assertion, that in the Tenimber group the lads
decorate their locks with leaves, flowers, and feathers, "only in
order to please the women;" Taylor's statement that in New Zealand it
was the great ambition of the young to have fine tattooed faces, "both
to render themselves attractive to the ladies, and conspicuous in
war," etc.

Beginning with Curr, it must be conceded that he is one of the leading
authorities on Australia, the author of a four-volume treatise on that
country and its natives. Yet his testimony on the point in question
happens to be as worthless as that of the most hasty globe-trotter,
partly because he had evidently paid little attention to it, and
partly also, I fancy, because of the fatal tendency of men of science
to blunder as soon as they touch the domain of esthetics. What he
really wrote (II., 275) is that Chatfield had informed him that scars
were made by the natives on the right thigh "for the purpose of
denoting the particular class to which they belong." This Curr doubts,
"without further evidence," because it would conflict with the custom
prevalent throughout the continent, "as far as known, which is to make
these marks for ornament only." Now this is a pure assumption of
Curr's, based on a preconceived notion, and contradicted by the
specific evidence of a number of explorers who, as even Grosse is
obliged to admit (75), "unanimously account for a part at least of the
scars as tribal marks."[100]

If so eminent an authority as Curr can err so grievously, it is
obvious that the testimony of other writers and casual observers must
be accepted with extreme caution. Europeans and Americans are so
accustomed to regard personal decorations as attempts to beautify the
appearance that when they see them in savages there is a natural
disposition to attribute them to the same motive. They do not realize
that they are dealing with a most subtle psychological question. The
chief source of confusion lies in their failure to distinguish between
what is admired as a thing of beauty as such and what pleases them for
other reasons. As Professor Sully has pointed out in his _Handbook of
Psychology_ (337):

     "At the beginning of life there is no clear separation of
     what is beautiful from what is simply pleasing to the
     individual. As in the history of the race, so in that of the
     individual, the sense of beauty slowly extricates itself
     from pleasurable consciousness in general, and
     differentiates itself from the sense of what _is personally
     useful and agreeable_."

Bearing in mind this very important distinction between what is
beautiful and what is merely pleasing because of its being useful and
agreeable, we see at once that the words "decorative," "ornamental,"
"attractive," "handsome," etc., are constantly used by writers on this
subject in a misleading and question-begging way. We can hardly blame
a man like Barrington for writing (11) that among the natives of
Botany Bay "scars are, by both sexes, deemed highly ornamental"; but a
scientific author who quotes such a sentence ought to be aware that
the evidence did not justify Barrington in using any word but
_pleasing_ in place of "ornamental," because the latter implies and
takes for granted the esthetic sense, the existence of which is the
very thing to be proved. This remark applies generally to the evidence
of this kind which Westermarck has so industriously collected, and
which, on account of this undiscriminating, question-begging
character, is entirely worthless. In all these cases the fact is
overlooked that the "decorations" of one sex may be agreeable to the
other for reasons that have nothing to do with the sense of beauty.

Briefly summed up, Westermarck's theory is that in painting,
tattooing, and otherwise decorating his person, primitive man's
original and conscious object was to beautify himself for the sake of
gaining an advantage in courtship; whereas my theory is that all these
decorations originally subserved useful purposes alone, and that even
where they subsequently may have served in some instances as means to
please the women, this was not as things of beauty but indirectly and
unintentionally through their association with rank, wealth,
distinction in war, prowess, and manly qualities in general. When
Dobrizhoffer says (II., 12) that the Abipones, "more ambitious to
be dreaded by their enemies than to be loved, to terrify than attract
beholders, think the more they are scarred and sunburnt, the
_handsomer_ they are," he illustrates glaringly the slovenly and
question-begging use of terms to which I have just referred; for, as
his own reference to being loved and to attracting beholders shows, he
does not use the word "handsome" in an esthetic sense, but as a
synonyme for what is pleasing or worthy of approval on other grounds.
If the scars of these Indians do please the women it is not because
they are considered beautiful, but because they are tokens of martial
prowess. To a savage woman nothing is so useful as manly valor, and
therefore nothing so agreeable as the signs of it. In that respect the
average woman's nature has not changed. The German high-school girl
admires the scars in the face of a "corps-student," not, certainly,
because she considers them beautiful, but because they stand for a
daredevil, masculine spirit which pleases her.

When the Rev. R. Taylor wrote (321) that among the New Zealanders "to
have fine tattooed faces was the great ambition of the young, both to
render themselves attractive to the ladies and conspicuous in war," he
would have shown himself a better philosopher if he had written that
by making themselves conspicuous in war with their tattooing they also
make themselves attractive to the "ladies." That the sense of beauty
is not concerned here becomes obvious when we include Robley's
testimony (28, 15) that a Maori chief's great object was to excite
fear among enemies, for which purpose in the older days he "rendered
his countenance as terrible as possible with charcoal and red ochre";
while in more recent times,

     "not only to become more terrible in war, when fighting was
     carried on at close quarters, but to appear more
     distinguished and attractive to the opposite sex, must
     certainly be included"

among the objects of tattooing. It is hardly necessary to point out
that if we accept the sexual selection theory this expert testimony
lands us in insuperable difficulty; for it is clearly impossible that
on the same island, and in the same race, the painting and tattooing
of the face should have the effect of terrifying the men and of
appearing beautiful to the women. But if we discard the beauty
theory and follow my suggestion, we have no difficulty whatever. Then
we may grant that the facial daubs or skin mutilations may seem
terrible or hideous to an enemy and yet please the women, because the
women do not regard them as things of beauty, but as distinguishing
marks of valiant warriors.

By way of illustrating his maxim that "in every country, in every
race, beauty stimulates passion," Westermarck cites (257) part of a
sentence by Lumholtz (213) to the effect that Australian women take
much notice of a man's face, particularly of the part about the eyes.
He does not cite the rest of the sentence--"and they like to see a
frank and open, _or perhaps, more correctly, a wild expression of
countenance,_" which makes it clear to the reader that what stimulates
the passion of these women is not the lines of beauty in the
[never-washed] faces of these men, but the unbeautiful aspect peculiar
to a wild hunter, ferocious warrior, and intrepid defender of his
home. Their admiration, in other words, is not esthetic, but
instinctively utilitarian.


We come now to the principal argument of Westermarck--the alleged fact
that in all parts of the world the desire for self-decoration is
strongest at the beginning of the age of puberty, the customs of
ornamenting, painting, mutilating, and tattooing the person being
practised most zealously at that period. This argument is as futile as
the others, for several reasons. In the first place, it is not true
that in all parts of the world self-decoration is practised most
zealously at that period. More frequently, perhaps, it is begun some
years earlier, before any idea of courtship can have entered the heads
of these children. The Congo cannibals begin the process of scarring
the face at the age of four.[101] Dyak girls are tattooed at
five.[102] The Botocudos begin the mutilating of children's lips at
the age of seven.[103] Eskimo girls are tattooed in their eighth
year,[104] and on the Andaman Islands few children are allowed to pass
their eighth year without scarification.[105] The Damaras chip the
teeth with a flint "when the children are young."[106] The female
Oraons are "all tattooed in childhood."[107] The Tahitians began
tattooing at eight.[108] The Chukchis of Siberia tattoo girls at
nine;[109] and so on in various parts of the world. In the second
place, of the divers personal "decorations" indulged in by the lower
races it is only those that are intended to be of a permanent
character (tattooing, scarring, mutilating) that are made chiefly,
though by no means exclusively[110] about or before the age of

All the other methods of "decorating" described in the preceding pages
as being connected with the rites of war, superstition, mourning,
etc., are practised throughout life; and that they constitute by far
the greater proportion of "ornamentations" is evidenced by the
citation I have already made, from Brough Smyth, that the
ornamentation of their persons was considered important by Australians
only in connection with such ceremonies, and that "in ordinary life
little attention was given to the ornamenting of the person"; to which
much similar testimony might be added regarding other races; such as
Kane's (184), regarding the Chinooks: "Painting the face is not much
practised among them, except on extraordinary occasions, such as the
death of a relative, some solemn feast, or going on a war-party;" or
Morgan's (263), that the feather and war dances were "the chief
occasions" when the Iroquois warrior "was desirous to appear in his
best attire," etc.

Again, even if it were true that "the desire for self-decoration is
strongest at the beginning of the age of puberty," it does not by any
means follow that this must be due to the desire to make one's self
attractive to the opposite sex. Whatever their desire may be, the
children have no choice in the matter. As Curr remarks regarding
Australians (11., 51),

     "The male must commonly submit, _without hope of escape_, to
     have one or more of his teeth knocked out, to have the
     septum of his nose pierced, to have certain painful cuttings
     made in his skin, ...before he is allowed the rights of

There are, however, plenty of reasons why he should desire to be
initiated. What Turner writes regarding the Samoans has a general

     "Until a young man was tattooed, he was considered in his
     minority. He could not think of marriage, and he was
     constantly exposed to taunts and ridicule, as being poor and
     of low birth, and as having no right to speak in the society
     of men. But as soon as he was tattooed he passed into his
     majority, and considered himself entitled to the respect and
     privileges of mature years. When a youth, therefore, reached
     the age of sixteen, he and his friends were all anxiety that
     he should be tattooed."[111]

No one can read the accounts of the initiatory ceremonies of
Australian and Indian boys (convenient summaries of which may be found
in the sixth volume of Waitz-Gerland and in Southey's _Brazil_ III.,
387-88) without becoming convinced that with them, as with the
Samoans, etc., there was no thought of women or courtship. Indeed the
very idea of such a thing involves an absurdity, for, since all the
boys in each tribe were tattooed alike, what advantage could their
marks have secured them? If all men were equally rich, would any woman
ever marry for money? Westermarck accepts (174) seriously the
assertion of one writer that the reason why Australians knock out some
of the teeth of the boys at puberty is because they know "that
otherwise they would run the risk of being refused on account of
ugliness." Now, apart from the childish supposition that Australian
women could allow their amorous inclinations to depend on the presence
or absence of two front teeth, this assertion involves the assumption
that these females can exercise the liberty of choice in the selection
of a mate--an assumption which is contrary to the truth, since all the
authorities on Australia agree on at least one point, which is that
women have absolutely no choice in the selection of a husband, but
have to submit in all cases to the dispositions made by their male
relatives. These Australian women, moreover, perversely act in a
manner utterly inconsistent with the theory of sexual selection. Since
they do not choose, but are chosen, one would naturally expect, in
accordance with that theory, that they would decorate themselves in
order to "stimulate the passion" of the _desirable_ men; but they do
no such thing.

While the men are apt to dress their hair carefully, the women "let
their black locks grow as irregular and tangled as do the Fuegians"
(Grosse, 87); and Buhner says they "did little to improve their
appearance;" while such ornaments as they had "were not much regarded
by the men." (Brough Smyth, I, 275.)[112]


One of the most important reasons why young savages approaching
puberty are eager to receive their "decorations" remains to be
considered. Tattooing, scarring, and mutilating are usually very
painful processes. Now, as all who are familiar with the life of
savages know, there is nothing they admire so much as courage in
enduring torture of any kind. By showing fortitude in bearing the pain
connected with tattooing, etc., these young folks are thus able to win
admiration, gratify their vanity, and show that they are worthy to be
received in the ranks of adults. The Sea Dyaks are proud of their
scars, writes Brooke Low.

     "The women often prove the courage and endurance of the
     youngsters by placing a lighted ball of tinder in the arm
     and letting it burn into the skin. The marks ... are much
     valued by the young men as so many proofs of their power of

(Roth, II., 80.) Here we have an illustration which explains in the
most simple way why scars _please_ both the men and the women, without
making necessary the grotesque assumption that either sex admires them
as things of beauty. To take another case, equally eloquent: Bossu
says of the Osage Indians that they suffer the pain of tattooing with
pleasure in order to pass for men of courage. If one of them should
have himself marked without having previously distinguished himself in
battle, he would be degraded and looked upon as a coward, unworthy of
such an honor. (Mallery, 1889-90, 394.)

Grosse is inclined to think (78) that it is in the male only that
courage is expected and admired, but he is mistaken, as we may see,
_e.g._, in the account given by Dobrizhoffer (II., 21) of the
tattooing customs of the Abipones, whom he studied so carefully. The
women, he says,

     "have their face, breast, and arms covered with black
     figures of various shapes, so that they present the
     appearance of a Turkish carpet." "This savage ornament is
     purchased with blood and many groans."

The thorns used to puncture the skin are poisonous, and after the
operation the girl has her eyes, cheeks, and lips so horribly swelled
that she "looks like a Stygian fury." If she groans while undergoing
the torture, or shows signs of pain in her face, the old woman who
operates on her exclaims, in a rage: "You will die single, be assured.
Which of our heroes would think _so cowardly a girl_ worthy to be his
wife?" Such courage, Dobrizhoffer explains further, is admired in a
girl because it makes her "prepared to bear the pains of parturition
in time." In some cases vanity supplies an additional motive why the
girls should submit to the painful operation with fortitude; for those
of them who "are most pricked and painted you may know to be of high

Here again we see clearly that the tattooing is admired for other than
esthetic reasons, and we realize how foolish it is to philosophize
about the peculiar "taste" of these Indians in admiring a girl who
looks like "a Turkish carpet" or "a Stygian fury." If they had even
the rudiments of a sense of beauty they would not indulge in such
disgusting disfigurements.


Grosse declares (80) that "we know definitely at least, that tattooing
is regarded by the Eskimo as an embellishment." He bases this
inference on Cranz's assertion that Eskimo mothers tattoo their
daughters in early youth "for fear that otherwise they would not get a
husband." Had Grosse allowed his imagination to paint a particular
instance, he would have seen how grotesque his inference is. A
favorite way among the Eskimo of securing a bride is, we are told, to
drag her from her tent by the hair. This young woman, moreover, has
never washed her face, nor does any man object to her filth. Yet we
are asked to believe that an Eskimo could be so enamoured of the
_beauty_ of a few simple lines tattooed on a girl's dirty face that he
would refuse to marry her unless she had them! Like other champions of
the sexual selection theory, Grosse searches in the clouds for a
comically impossible motive when the real reason lies right before his
eyes. That reason is fashion. The tattoo marks are tribal signs
(Bancroft, I., 48) which _every_ girl _must_ submit to have in
obedience to inexorable custom, unless she is prepared to be an object
of scorn and ridicule all her life.

The tyranny of fashion in prescribing disfigurements and mutilations
is not confined to savages. The most amazing illustration of it is to
be found in China, where the girls of the upper classes are obliged to
this day to submit to the most agonizing process of crippling their
feet, which finally, as Professor Flower remarks in his book on
_Fashion and Deformity_, assume "the appearance of the hoof of some
animal rather than a human foot." There is a popular delusion that the
Chinese approve of such deformed small feet because they consider them
beautiful--a delusion which Westermarck shares (200). Since the
Chinese consider small feet "the chief charm of women," it might be
supposed, he says, that the women would at least have the pleasure of
fascinating men by a "beauty" to acquire which they have to undergo
such horrible torture;

     "but Dr. Strieker assures us that in China a woman is
     considered immodest if she shows her artificially distorted
     feet to a man. It is even improper to speak of a woman's
     foot, and in decent pictures this part is always concealed
     under the dress."

To explain this apparent anomaly Westermarck assumes that the object
of the concealment "is to excite through the unknown!" To such
fantastic nonsense does the doctrine of sexual selection lead. In
reality there is no reason for supposing that the Chinese consider
crippled feet--looking like "the hoof of an animal"--beautiful any
more than mutilations of other parts of the body. In all probability
the origin of the custom of crippling women's feet must be traced to
the jealousy of the men, who devised this procedure as an effective
way of preventing their wives from leaving their homes and indulging
in amorous intrigues; other practices with the same purpose being
common in Oriental countries. In course of time the foot-binding
became an inexorable fashion which the foolishly conservative women
were more eager to continue than the men. All accounts agree that the
anti-foot-binding movement finds its most violent and stubborn
opponents in the women themselves. The _Missionary Review_ for July,
1899, contains an article summing up a report of the _Tien Tsu Hui,_
or "Natural Foot Society," which throws a bright light on the whole
question and from which I quote as follows:

     "The male members of a family may be opposed to the maiming
     of their female relatives by the senseless custom, but the
     women will support it. One Chinese even promised his
     daughter a dollar a day to keep her natural feet, and
     another, having failed with his older girls, arranged that
     his youngest should be under his personal supervision night
     and day. The one natural-footed girl was sought in marriage
     for the dollars that had been faithfully laid by for her.
     But at her new home she was so _ridiculed_ by the hundreds
     who came to see her--and her feet--that she lost her reason.
     The other girl also became insane as a result of the
     _persecutions_ which she had to endure."

Thus we see that what keeps up this hideous custom is not the women's
desire to arouse the esthetic admiration and amorous passion of the
_men_ by a hoof of beauty, but the fear of ridicule and persecution by
the other women, slaves of fashion all. These same motives are the
source of most of the ugly fashions prevalent even in civilized Europe
and America. Théophile Gautier believed that most women had no sense
of beauty, but only a sense of fashion; and if explorers and
missionaries had borne in mind the fundamental difference between
fashion and esthetics, anthropological literature would be the poorer
by hundreds of "false facts" and ludicrous inferences.[113]

The ravages of fashion are aggravated by emulation, which has its
sources in vanity and envy. This accounts for the extremes to which
mutilations and fashions often go among both, civilized and
uncivilized races, and of which a startling instance will be described
in detail in the next paragraph. Few of our rich women wear their
jewels because of their intrinsic beauty. They wear them for the same
reason that Polynesian or African belles wear all the beads they can
get. In Mariner's book on the Tongans (Chap. XV.) there is an amusing
story of a chiefs daughter who was very anxious to go to Europe. Being
asked why, she replied that her great desire was to amass a large
quantity of beads and then return to Tonga, "because in England beads
are so common that no one would admire me for wearing them, and _I
should not have the pleasure of being envied."_ Bancroft (I., 128)
says of the Kutchin Indians: "_Beads are their wealth,_ used in the
place of money, and the rich among them literally load themselves with
necklaces and strings of various patterns." Referring to the tin
ornaments worn by Dyaks, Carl Bock says he has "counted as many as
sixteen rings in a single ear, each of them the size of a dollar";
while of the Ghonds Forsyth tells us (148) that they "deck themselves
with an inordinate amount of what they consider ornaments. _Quantity
rather than quality is aimed at."_


Must we then, in view of the vast number of opposing facts advanced so
far in this long chapter, assume that savages and barbarians have no
esthetic sense at all, not even a germ of it? Not necessarily. I
believe that the germ of a sense of visible beauty _may_ exist even
among savages as well as the germ of a musical sense; but that it is
little more than a childish pleasure in bright and lustrous shells and
other objects of various colors, especially red and yellow, everything
beyond that being usually found to belong to the region of utility
(language of signs, desire to attract attention, etc.) and not to
_esthetics_--that is, _the love of beauty for its own sake._ Such a
germ of esthetic pleasure we find in our infants _years before they
have the faintest conception of what is meant by personal beauty;_ and
this brings me to the pith of my argument. Had the facts warranted it,
I might have freely conceded that savages decorate themselves for the
sake of gaining an advantage in courtship without thereby in the least
yielding the main thesis of this chapter, which is that the admiration
of personal beauty is not one of the motives which induce a savage to
marry a particular girl or man; for most of the "decorations"
described in the preceding pages are not elements of _personal_ beauty
at all, but are either external appendages to that beauty, or
mutilations of it. I have shown by a superabundance of facts that
these "decorations" do not serve the purpose of exciting the amorous
passion and preference of the opposite sex, except non-esthetically
and indirectly, in some cases, through their standing as marks of
rank, wealth, distinction in war, etc. I shall now proceed to show,
much more briefly, that still less does personal beauty proper serve
among the lower races as a stimulant of sexual passion. This we should
expect naturally, since in the race as in the child the pleasure in
bright baubles must long precede the pleasure in beautiful faces or
figures. Every one who has been among Indians or other savages knows
that nature produces among them fine figures and sometimes even pretty
faces; but these are not appreciated. Galton told Darwin that he saw
in one South African tribe two slim, slight, and pretty girls, but
they were not attractive to the natives. Zöller saw at least one
beautiful negress; Wallace describes the superb figures of some of the
Brazilian Indians and the Aru Islanders in the Malay Archipelago
(354); and Barrow says that some of the Hottentot girls have beautiful
figures when young--every joint and limb well turned. But as we shall
see presently, the criterion of personal charm among Hottentots, as
among savages in general, is fat, not what we call beauty. Ugliness,
whether natural or inflicted by fashion, does not among these races
act as a bar to marriage. "Beauty is of no estimation in either sex,"
we read regarding the Creeks in Schoolcraft (V., 272): "It is
strength or agility that recommends the young man to his mistress; and
to be a skilful or swift hunter is the highest merit with the woman he
may choose for a wife." Belden found that the squaws were valued "only
for their strength and ability to work, and no account whatever is
taken of their personal beauty," etc., etc. Nor can the fact that
savages kill deformed children be taken as an indication of a regard
for personal beauty. Such children are put out of the way for the
simple reason that they may not become a burden to the family or the

Advocates of the sexual selection theory make much ado over the fact
that in all countries the natives prefer their own peculiar color and
features--black, red, or yellow, flat noses, high cheek bones, thick
lips, etc.--and dislike what we consider beautiful. But the likes of
these races regarding personal appearance have no more to do with a
sense of beauty than their dislikes. It is merely a question of habit.
They like their own faces because they are used to them, and dislike
ours because they are strange. In their aversion to our faces they are
actuated by the same motive that makes a European child cry out and
run away in terror at sight of a negro--not because he is ugly, for he
may be good-looking, but because he is strange.

Far from admiring such beauty as nature may have given them, the lower
races exercise an almost diabolical ingenuity in obliterating or
mutilating it. Hundreds of their visitors have written of certain
tribes that they would not be bad looking if they would only leave
nature alone. Not a single feature, from the feet to the eyeballs, has
escaped the uglifying process. "Nothing is too absurd or hideous to
please them," writes Cameron. The Eskimos afford a striking
illustration of the fact that a germ of taste for ornamentation in
general is an earlier manifestation of the esthetic faculty than the
appreciation of personal beauty; for while displaying considerable
skill and ingenuity in the decorations of their clothes, canoes, and
weapons, they mutilate their persons in various ways and allow them to
be foul and malodorous with the filth of years. One of the most
disgusting mutilations on record is that practised by the Indians of
British Columbia, who insert a piece of bone in the lower lip, which,
gradually enlarged, makes it at last project three inches. Bancroft
(I., 98) devotes three pages to the lip mutilation indulged in by the
Thlinkeet females. When the operation is completed and the block is
withdrawn "the lip drops down upon the chin like a piece of leather,
displaying the teeth, and presenting altogether a ghastly spectacle."
The lower teeth and gum, says one witness, are left quite naked;
another says that the plug "distorts every feature in the lower part
of the face"; a third that an old woman, the wife of a chief, had a
lip "ornament" so large "that by a peculiar motion of her under-lip
she could almost conceal her whole face with it"; and a fourth gives a
description of this "abominably revolting spectacle," which is too
nauseating to quote.


"Abominably revolting," "hideous," "filthy," "disgusting,"
"atrocious"--such are usually the words of observers in describing
these shocking mutilations. Nevertheless they always apply the word
"ornamentation" to them, with the implication that the savages look
upon them as beautiful, although all that the observers had a right to
say was that they pleased the savages and were approved by fashion.
What is worse, the philosophers fell into the pitfall thus dug for
them. Darwin thinks that the mutilations indulged in by savages show
"how different is the standard of _taste_"; Humboldt (III., 236)
reflects on the strange fact that nations "attach the idea of beauty"
to whatever configuration nature has given them; and Ploss (I., 48)
declares bluntly that there is no such thing as an absolute standard
of beauty and that savages have "just as much right" to their ideas on
the subject as we have to admire a madonna of Raphael. This view,
indeed, is generally held; it is expressed in the old saw, _De
gustibus non est disputandum_. Now it is true that it is _unwise_ to
dispute about tastes _conversationally_; but scientifically speaking,
that old saw has not a sound tooth in it.

If a peasant who has never had an opportunity to cultivate his musical
sense insisted that a certain piano was exquisitely in tune and had as
beautiful a tone as any other piano, whereas an expert musician
declared that it had a shrill tone and was terribly out of tune, would
anybody be so foolish as to say that the peasant had as much right to
his opinion as the musician? Or if an Irish toper declared that a
bottle of Chambertin, over which French epicures smacked their lips,
was insipid and not half as fine as the fusel-oil on which he daily
got drunk, would not everybody agree that the Irishman was no judge of
liquors, and that the reason why he preferred his cheap whiskey to the
Burgundy was that his nerves of taste were too coarse to detect the
subtle and exquisite bouquet of the French wine? In both these
examples we are concerned only with simple questions of sense
perception; yet in the matter of personal beauty, which involves not
only the senses, but the imagination, the intellect, and the subtlest
feelings, we are asked to believe that any savage who has never seen a
woman but those of his own race has as much right to his opinion as a
Ruskin or a Titian, who have given their whole life to the study of

If an astronomer--to take another illustration--were told that _de
astronomia non est disputandum_, and that the Namaquas, who believe
that the moon is made of bacon, or the Brazilian tribes who think that
an eclipse consists in an attempt on the part of a monstrous jaguar to
swallow the sun--have as much right to their opinion as he has, he
would consider the person who advanced such an argument either a wag
or a fool. Only a wag or a fool, again, would argue that a Fijian has
just as much right as we have to his opinions on medical matters, or
on the morality of polygamy, infanticide, and cannibalism. Yet when we
come across a dirty, malodorous savage, so stupid that he cannot count
ten, who mutilates every part of his body till he has lost nearly all
semblance to a human being, we are soberly asked to look upon this as
merely a "difference in the standard of esthetic taste," and to admit
that the savage has "as much right to his taste," as we have. The more
I think of it, the more I am amazed at this unjust and idiotic
discrimination against the esthetic faculty--a discrimination for
which I can find no other explanation than the fact already referred
to, that most men of science know so much less about matters of beauty
than about everything else in the world. They labor under the delusion
that the sense of beauty is one of the earliest products of mental
evolution, whereas their own attitude in the matter affords painful
proof that it is one of the latest. They will understand some day that
a steatopygous "Hottentot Venus" is no more beautiful because an
African finds her attractive, than an ugly, bloated, blear-eyed harlot
is beautiful because she pleases a drunken libertine.

What makes the traditional attitude of scientific men in this matter
the less pardonable is that--as we have seen--there is always a
simple, practical explanation for the predilections of these savages,
so that there is no necessity whatever for assuming the existence of
so paradoxical and impossible a thing as an esthetic admiration of
these hideous deformities. Thus, in regard to the nauseating lip
"ornaments" of the Thlinkeets just referred to, the testimony
collected by Bancroft indicates unmistakably that they are approved
of, perpetuated, and aggravated for two reasons--both
non-esthetic--namely, as indications of rank, and from the necessity
of conforming to fashion. Ladies of distinction, we read, increase the
size of their lip plug. Langsdorff even saw women "of very high rank"
with this "ornament" full five inches long and three broad; Dixon says
the mutilation is always in proportion to the person's wealth; and
Mayne relates, in his book on the British Columbia Indians, that "a
woman's rank among women is settled according to the size of her
wooden lip."


That savages can have no sense of personal beauty is further proved by
their habitual indifference to personal cleanliness, the most
elementary and imperative of esthetic requirements. When we read in
McLean (II., 153) that some Eskimo girls "might pass as pretty if
divested of their filth;" or in Cranz (I., 134) that "it is almost
sickening to view their hands and faces smeared with grease ... and
their filthy clothes swarming with vermin;" and when we further read
in Kotzebue (II., 56) regarding the Kalush that his "filthy
countrywomen with their lip-trough ... often awaken in him the most
vehement passion," we realize vividly that that passion is a coarse
appetite which exists quite apart from, and independently of, anything
that might be considered beautiful or ugly.

The subject is not a pleasant one; but as it is one of my strongest
arguments, I must be pardoned for giving some more unsavory details.
Among some of the British Columbia Indians "pretty women may be seen;
nearly all have good eyes and hair, but the state of filth in which
they live generally neutralizes any natural charms they may possess."
(Mayne, 277.) Lewis and Clarke write (439) regarding the Chinook

     "Their broad, flat foreheads, their falling breasts, their
     ill-shaped limbs, the awkwardness of their positions, and
     _the filth which intrudes through their finery_--all these
     render a Chinook or Clatsop beauty in full attire one of the
     most disgusting objects in nature."

Muir says of the Mono Indians of the California Mountains (93): "The
dirt on their faces was fairly stratified, and seemed so ancient and
so undisturbed it might also possess a geological significance."
Navajo girls "usually evince a catlike aversion to water."
(Schoolcraft, IV., 214.) Cozzens relates (128) how, among the
Apaches, "the sight of a man washing his face and hands almost
convulsed them with laughter." He adds that their personal appearance
explained their surprise. Burton (80) found among the Sioux a dislike
to cleanliness "which nothing but the fear of the rod will subdue."
"In an Indian village," writes Neill (79), "all is filth and
litter.... Water, except in very warm weather, seldom touches their

The Comanches are "disgustingly filthy in their persons."
(Schoolcraft, I., 235.) The South American Waraus "are exceedingly
dirty and disgusting in their habits, and their children are so much
neglected that their fingers and toes are frequently destroyed by
vermin." (Bernau, 35.) The Patagonians "are excessively filthy in
their personal habits." (Bourne, 56.) The Mundrukus "are very dirty"
(Markham, 172), etc.

Of the Damara negroes, Anderson says (_N._, 50): "Dirt often
accumulates to such a degree on their persons as to make the color of
their skins totally undistinguishable;" and Galton (92) "could find no
pleasure in associating or trying to chat with these Damaras, they
were so filthy and disgusting in every way." Thunberg writes of the
Hottentots (73) that they "find a peculiar pleasure in filth and
stench;" wherein they resemble Africans in general. Griffith declares
that the hill tribes of India are "the dirtier the farther we
advance;" elsewhere[114] we read:

     "Both males and females, as a class, are very dirty and
     filthy in both person and habits. They appear to have an
     antipathy to bathing, and to make matters worse, they have a
     habit of anointing their bodies with _ghee_ (melted

and of another of these tribes:

     "The Karens are a dirty people. They never use soap, and
     their skins are enamelled with dirt. When water is thrown on
     them, it rolls off their backs like globules of quicksilver
     on a marble slab. To them bathing has a cooling, but no
     cleansing effect."

The Mishinis are "disgustingly dirty." By the Kirgliez "uncleanliness
is elevated into a virtue hallowed by tradition." The Kalmucks are
described as filthy, the Kamtschadales as exceedingly so, etc.


Among the inhabitants of the islands of the Pacific we meet with
apparent exceptions. These natives are practically amphibious,
spending half their time in the ocean, and are therefore of necessity
clean. So are certain coast negroes and Indian tribes living along
river-banks. But Ellis _(Pol. Res._, I., 110) was shrewd enough to see
that the habit of frequent bathing indulged in by the South Sea
Islanders was a luxury--a result of the hot climate--and not an
indication of the virtue of cleanliness. In this respect Captain Cook
showed less acumen, for he remarks (II., 148) that "nothing appears to
give them greater pleasure than personal cleanliness, to produce which
they frequently bathe in ponds." His confusion of ideas is made
apparent in the very next sentence, where he adds that the water in
most of these ponds "stinks intolerably." That it is merely the desire
for comfort and sport that induces the Polynesians to bathe so much is
proved further by the attitude of the New Zealanders. Hawksworth
declares (III., 451) that they "stink like Hottentots;" and the reason
lies in the colder climate which makes bathing less of a luxury to
them. The Micronesians also spend much of their time in the water, for
comfort, not for cleanliness. Gerland cites grewsome details of their
nastiness. (Waitz, V., Pt. II., 81, 188.) The Kaffirs, says Gardiner
(101), "although far from cleanly," are fond of bathing. In some other
cases the water is sought for its warmth instead of its coolness. In
Brazil the morning air is much colder than the water, wherefore the
natives take to the river for comfort, as the Japanese do in winter to
their hot tubs. All Indians, says Bancroft (I., 83), "attach great
importance to their sweatbaths," not for cleanliness--for they are
"extremely filthy in their persons and habits"--but "as a remedial

Unless they happen to indulge in bathing for comfort, the lowest of
savages are also the dirtiest. Leigh writes (147) that in South
Australia many of the women, including the wives of chiefs, had "sore
eyes from the smoke, the filth, and their abominable want of
cleanliness." Sturt (II., 53) refers to the Australian women as
"disgusting objects." At funerals, "the women besmear themselves with
the most disgusting filth." The naked boys in Taplin's school "had no
notion of cleanliness." The youths from the age of ten to sixteen or
seventeen were compelled by custom to let their hair grow, the result
being "a revolting mass of tangled locks and filth." (Woods, 20, 85.)
Sturt sums up his impressions by declaring (II., 126): "Really, the
loathsome condition and hideous countenances of the women would, I
should imagine, have been a complete antidote to the sexual passion."


An instructive instance of the loose reasoning which prevails in the
esthetic sphere is provided by the Rev. H.N. Hutchinson, in his
_Marriage Customs in Many Lands_. After describing some of the customs
of the Australians, he goes on to say:

     "One would think that such degraded creatures as these men
     are would be quite incapable of appreciating female beauty,
     but that is not the case. Good-looking girls are much
     admired and consequently frequently stolen away."

As a matter of fact, beauty has nothing to do with the stealing of the
women. The real motive is revealed in the following passage from
Brough Smyth (79):

     "_A very fat woman_ presents such an attractive appearance
     to the eyes of the blacks that she is always liable to be
     stolen. _However old and ugly she way be_, she will be
     courted and petted and sought for by the warriors, who
     seldom hesitate to risk their lives if there is a chance for
     obtaining so great a prize."

An Australian Shakspere obviously would have written "Fat provoketh
thieves sooner than gold," instead of "beauty provoketh thieves." And
the amended maxim applies to savages in general, as well as to
barbarians and Orientals. In his _Savage Life in Polynesia_, the Rev.
W.W. Gill remarks:

     "The great requisites for a Polynesian beauty are to be fat
     and as fair as their dusky skins will permit. To insure
     this, favorite children, whether boys or girls, were
     regularly fattened and imprisoned till nightfall when a
     little gentle exercise was permitted. If refractory, the
     guardian would whip the culprit for not eating more."[115]

American Indians do not differ in this respect from Australians and
Polynesians. The horrible obesity of the squaws on the Pacific Coast
used to inspire me with disgust, as a boy, and I could not understand
how anyone could marry such fat abominations. Concerning the South
American tribes, Humboldt says (_Trav.,_ I., 301): "In several
languages of these countries, to express the beauty of a woman, they
say that she is fat, and has a narrow forehead."


The population of Africa comprises hundreds of different peoples and
tribes, the vast majority of whom make bulk and weight the chief
criterion of a woman's charms. The hideous deformity known as
steatopyga, or hypertrophy of the buttocks, occurs among South African
Bushman, Koranna, and Hottentot women. Darwin says that Sir Andrew

     "once saw a woman who was considered a beauty, and she was
     so immensely developed behind that when seated on level
     ground she could not rise, and had to push herself along
     until she came to a slope. Some of the women in various
     negro tribes have the same peculiarity; and according to
     Burton, the Somal men, 'are said to choose their wives by
     ranging them in a line and by picking her out who projects
     farthest _a tergo_. Nothing can be more hateful to a negro
     than the opposite form.'"[116]

The notions of the Yoruba negroes regarding female perfection consist,
according to Lander, in "the bulk, plumpness, and rotundity of the

Among the Karagué, women were exempted from hard labor because the men
were anxious to have them as fat as possible. To please the men, they
ate enormous quantities of bananas and drank milk by the gallon. Three
of Rumanika's wives were so fat that they could not go through an
ordinary door, and when they walked they needed two men each to
support them.

Speke measured one of the much-admired African wonders of obesity, who
was unable to stand except on all fours. Result: around the arms, 1
foot 11 inches; chest, 4 feet 4 inches; thigh, 2 feet 7 inches; calf,
1 foot 8 inches; height, 5 feet 8 inches.

     "Meanwhile, the daughter, a lass of sixteen, sat stark-naked
     before us, sucking at a milk-pot, on which her father kept
     her at work by holding a rod in his hand; for as fattening
     is the first duty of fashionable female life, it must be
     duly enforced by the rod if necessary. I got up a bit of
     flirtation with missy, and induced her to rise and shake
     hands with me. Her features were lovely, but her body was
     round as a ball."

Speke also tells (370) of a girl who, a mere child when the king died,
was such a favorite of his, that he left her twenty cows, in order
that she might fatten upon milk after her native fashion.


Mungo Park declared that the Moorish women

     "seem to be brought up for no other purpose than that of
     ministering to the sensual pleasures of their imperious
     masters. Voluptuousness is therefore considered as their
     chief accomplishment.... The Moors have singular ideas of
     feminine perfection. The gracefulness of figure and motion,
     and a countenance enlivened by expression, are by no means
     essential points in their standard: With them _corpulence
     and beauty seem to be terms nearly synonymous_: A woman of
     even moderate pretensions must be one who cannot walk
     without a slave under each arm, to support her; and a
     perfect beauty is a load for a camel.... Many of the young
     girls are compelled, by their mothers, to devour a great
     quantity of kouskous, and drink a large bowl of camel's milk
     every morning.... I have seen a poor girl sit crying, with
     the bowl at her lips, for more than an hour; and her mother,
     with a stick in her hand watching her all the while, and
     using the stick without mercy, whenever she observed that
     her daughter was not swallowing."

A Somali love-song says: "You are beautiful and your limbs are fat;
but if you would drink camel's milk you would be still more
beautiful." Nubian girls are especially fattened for their marriage by
rubbing grease over them and stuffing them with polenta and goat milk.
When the process is completed they are poetically likened to a
hippopotamus. In Egypt and India, where the climate naturally tends to
make women thin, the fat ones are, as in Australia, the ideals of
beauty, as their poets would make plain to us if it were not known
otherwise. A Sanscrit poet declares proudly that his beloved is so
borne down by the weight of her thighs and breasts that she cannot
walk fast; and in the songs of Halâ there are numerous "sentiments"
like that. The Arabian poet Amru declares rapturously that his
favorite beauty has thighs so delightfully exuberant that she can
scarcely enter the tent door. Another Arabian poet apostrophizes "the
maid of Okaib, who has haunches like sand-hills, whence her body rises
like a palm-tree." And regarding the references to personal appearance
in the writings of the ancient Hebrews, Rossbach remarks:

     "In all these descriptions human beauty is recognized in the
     luxurious fulness of parts, not in their harmony and
     proportion. Spiritual expression in the sensual form is not
     adverted to" (238).

Thus, from the Australian and the Indian to the Hebrew, the Arab, and
the Hindoo, what pleases the men in women is not their beauty, but
their voluptuous rotundity; they care only for those sensual aspects
which emphasize the difference between the sexes. The object of the
modern wasp waist (in the minds of the class of females who, strange
to say, are allowed by respectable women to set the fashion for them)
is to grossly exaggerate the bust and the hips, and it is for the same
reason that barbarian and Oriental girls are fattened for the marriage
market. The appeal is to the appetite, not to the esthetic sense.


In writing this I do not ignore the fact that many authors have held
that personal beauty and sensuality are practically identical or
indissolubly associated. The sober philosopher, Bain, gravely advances
the opinion that, on the whole, personal beauty turns, 1, upon
qualities and appearances that heighten the expression of favor or
good-will; and, 2, upon qualities and appearances that suggest the
endearing embrace. Eckstein expresses the same idea more coarsely by
saying that "finding a thing beautiful is simply another way of
expressing the manifestation of the sexual appetite." But it remained
for Mantegazza to give this view the most cynical expression:

     "We look at woman through the prism of desire, and she looks
     at us in the same way; her beauty appears to us the more
     perfect the more it arouses our sexual desires--that is, the
     more voluptuous enjoyment the possession of her promises

He adds that for this reason a man of twenty finds nearly all women

Thus the beauty of a woman, in the opinion of these writers, consists
in those physical qualities which arouse a man's concupiscence. I
admit that this theory applies to savages and to Orientals; the
details given in the preceding pages prove that. It applies also, I
must confess, to the majority of Europeans and Americans. I have paid
special attention to this point in various countries and have noticed
that a girl with a voluptuous though coarse figure and a plain face
will attract much more masculine attention than a girl whose figure
and face are artistically beautiful without being voluptuous. But this
only helps to prove my main thesis--that the sense of personal beauty
is one of the latest products of civilization, rare even at the
present day. What I deny most emphatically is that the theory
advocated by Bain, Eckstein, and Mantegazza applies to those persons
who are so lucky as to have a sense of beauty. These fortunate
individuals can admire the charms of a living beauty without any more
concupiscence or thought of an endearing embrace than accompanies
their contemplation of the Venus de Milo or a Madonna painted by
Murillo; and if they are in love with a particular girl their
admiration of her beauty is superlatively free from carnal
ingredients, as we saw in the section on Mental Purity. Since in such
a question personal evidence is of importance, I will add that,
fortunately, I have been deeply in love several times in my life and
can therefore testify that each time my admiration of the girl's
beauty was as purely esthetic as if she had been a flower. In each
case the mischief was begun by a pair of brown eyes.

Eyes, it is true, can be as wanton and as voluptuous as a plump
figure. Powers notes (20) that some California Indian girls are pretty
and have "large, voluptuous eyes." Such eyes are common among the
lower races and Orientals; but they are not the eyes which inspire
romantic love. Lips, too, it might be said, invite kisses; but a lover
would consider it sacrilege to touch his idol's lips unchastely.
Savages are strangers to kissing for the exactly opposite reason--that
it is too refined a detail of sensuality to appeal to their coarse
nerves. How far they are from being able to appreciate lips
esthetically appears from the way in which they so often deform them.
The mouth is peculiarly the index of mental and moral refinement, and
a refined pair of lips can inspire as pure a love as the celestial
beauty of innocent eyes. As for the other features, what is there to
suggest lascivious thoughts in a clear complexion, an oval chin, ivory
teeth, rosy cheeks, or in curved eyebrows, long, dark lashes, or
flowing tresses? Our admiration of these, and of a graceful gait, is
as pure and esthetic--as purely esthetic--as our admiration of a
sunset, a flower, a humming-bird, a lovely child. It has been truly
said that a girl's marriage chances have been made or marred by the
size or shape of her nose. What has the size or shape of a girl's nose
to do with the "endearing embrace?" This question alone reduces the
concupiscence theory _ad absurdum_.


Almost as repulsive as the view which identifies the sense of personal
beauty with concupiscence is that which would reduce it to a matter of
coarse utility. Thus Eckstein, misled by Schopenhauer, holds that
healthy teeth are beautiful for the reason that they guarantee the
proper mastication of the food; while small breasts are ugly because
they do not promise sufficient nourishment to the child that is to be

This argument is refuted by the simple statement that our teeth, if
they looked like rusty nails, might be even more useful than now, but
could no longer be beautiful. As for women's breasts, if utility were
the criterion, the most beautiful would be those of the African
mothers who can throw them over their shoulders to suckle the infants
on their backs without impeding their work. As a matter of fact, the
loveliest breast is the virginal, which serves no use while it remains
so. A dray horse is infinitely more useful to us than an Arab racer,
but is he as beautiful? Tigers and snakes are anything but useful to
the human race, but we consider their skins beautiful.


No, the sense of personal beauty is neither a synonyme for libidinous
desires nor is it based on utilitarian considerations. It is
practically a new sense, born of mental refinement and imagination. It
by no means scorns a slight touch of the voluptuous, so far as it does
not exceed the limits of artistic taste and moral refinement--a
well-rounded figure and "a face voluptuous, yet pure"--but it is an
entirely different thing from the predilection for fat and other
coarse exaggerations of sexuality which inspire lust instead of love.
This new sense is still, as I have said, rare everywhere; and, like
the other results of high and recent culture, it is easily
obliterated. In his treatise on insanity Professor Krafft-Ebing shows
that in degeneration of the brain the esthetic and moral qualities are
among the first to disappear. It is the same with normal man when he
descends into a lower sphere. Zoller relates (III., 68) that when
Europeans arrive in Africa they find the women so ugly they can hardly
look at them without a feeling of repulsion. Gradually they become
habituated to their sight, and finally they are glad to accept them as
companions. Stanley has an eloquent passage on the same topic (_II. I.
F.L_., 265):

     "The eye that at first despised the unclassic face of the
     black woman of Africa soon loses its regard for fine lines
     and mellow pale color; it finds itself ere long lingering
     _wantonly_ over the inharmonious and heavy curves of a
     negroid form, and looking lovingly on the broad,
     unintellectual face, and into jet eyes that never flash with
     the dazzling love-light that makes poor humanity beautiful."

The word I have italicized explains it all. The sense of personal
beauty is displaced again by the concupiscence which had held its
place in the early history of mankind.


To realize fully what such a relapse may mean, read what Galton says
(123) of the Hottentots. They have

     "that peculiar set of features which is so characteristic of
     bad characters in England, and so general among prisoners
     that it is usually, I believe, known by the name of the
     'felon-face;' I mean that they have prominent cheek-bones,
     bullet-shaped head, cowering but restless eyes, and heavy
     sensual lips, and added to this a shackling dress and

Of the Damaras Galton says (99) that "their features are often
beautifully chiselled, though the expression in them is always coarse
and disagreeable." And to quote Mungo Park on the Moors once more

     "I fancied that I discovered in the features of most of them
     a disposition toward cruelty and low cunning.... From the
     staring wildness of their eyes, a stranger would immediately
     set them down as a nation of lunatics. The treachery and
     malevolence of their character are manifested in their
     plundering excursions against the negro villages."


Galton's reference to the Damaras illustrates the well-known fact
that, even where nature makes an effort at chiselling beautiful
features the result is a failure if there is no moral and intellectual
culture to inspire them, and this puts the grave-stone on the
Concupiscence Theory--for what have moral and intellectual culture to
do with carnal desires? A noble soul even possesses the magic power of
transforming a plain face into a radiant vision of beauty, the emotion
changing not only the expression but the lines of the face. Goethe
(Eckermann, 1824) and others have indeed maintained that intellect in
a woman does not help a man to fall in love with her. This is true in
so far as brains in a woman will not make a man fall in love with her
if she is otherwise unattractive or unfeminine. But Goethe forgot that
there is such a thing as _hereditary intellectual culture incarnated
in the face_. This, I maintain, makes up more than half of the
personal beauty which makes a man fall in love. A girl with good
features is twice as beautiful if she is morally pure and has a bright
mind. Sometimes a face is accidentally moulded, into such a regular
beauty of form that it seems to mirror mental beauty too. A man may
fall in love with such a face, but as soon as he finds out that it is
inhabited by a stupid or coarse mind he will make haste to fall out
again, unless his love was predominantly sensual. I remember once
falling in love with a country girl at first sight; her face and
figure seemed to me extremely beautiful, except that hard work had
enlarged and hardened her hands. But when I found that her intellect
was as coarse as her hands, my ardor cooled at once.

If intellect, as revealed in the face, in words, and in actions, did
not assist in inspiring the amorous sentiment, it would be as easy to
fall in love with a doll-faced, silly girl as with a woman of culture;
it would even be possible to fall in love with a statue or with a
demented person. Let us imagine a belle who is thrown from a horse and
has become insane from the shock. For a time her features will remain
as regular, her figure as plump, as before; but the mind will be gone,
and with it everything that could make a man fall in love with her.
Who has ever heard of a beautiful idiot, of anyone falling in love
with an imbecile? The vacant stare, the absence of intellect, make
beauty and love alike impossible in such a case.


The important corollary follows, from all this, that in countries
where women receive no education sensual love is the only kind men can
feel toward them. Oriental women are of that kind, and so were the
ancient Greeks. The Greeks are indeed renowned for their statuary, yet
their attitude toward personal beauty was of a very peculiar kind.
Their highest ideal was not the feminine but the masculine type, and
accordingly we find that it was toward men only that they professed to
feel a noble passion. The beauty of the women was regarded merely from
a sensual point of view. Their respectable women were deliberately
left without education, wherefore their charms can have been at best
of a bodily kind and capable of inspiring love of body only. There is
a prevalent superstition that the Greeks of the day of Perikles had a
class of intelligent women known as hetairai, who were capable of
being true companions and inspirers of men; but I shall show, in a
later chapter, that the mentality of these women has been ludicrously
exaggerated; they were coarse and obscene in their wit and
conversation, and their morals were such that no man could have
respected them, much less loved them with a pure affection; while the
men whom they are supposed to have inspired were in most cases
voluptuaries of the most dissolute sort.


Our attempt to answer the question "What is romantic love," has taken
up no fewer than two hundred and thirty-five pages, and even this
answer is a mere preliminary sketch, the details of which will be
supplied in the following chapters, chiefly, it is true, in a negative
way, by showing what is _not_ romantic love; for the subject of this
book is Primitive Love.


Can love be defined in one sentence? The _Century Dictionary's_
definition, which is as good as any, is: "Intimate personal affection
between individuals of opposite sex capable of intermarriage; the
emotional incentive to and normal basis of conjugal union." This is
correct enough as far as it goes; but how little it tells us of the
nature of love! I have tried repeatedly to condense the essential
traits of romantic love into one brief definition, but have not
succeeded. Perhaps the following will serve as an approximation. Love
is an intense longing for the reciprocal affection and jealously
exclusive possession of a particular individual of the opposite sex; a
chaste, proud, ecstatic adoration of one who appears a paragon of
personal beauty and otherwise immeasurably superior to all other
persons; an emotional state constantly hovering between doubt and
hope, aggravated in the female heart by the fear of revealing her
feelings too soon; a self-forgetful impulse to share the tastes and
feelings of the beloved, and to go so far in affectionate and gallant
devotion as to eagerly sacrifice, for the other's good, all comfort
and life itself if necessary.

These are the essential traits. But romantic love is altogether too
complex and variable to be defined in one sentence; and it is this
complexity and variability that I wish to emphasize particularly.
Eckermann once suggested to Goethe that no two cases of love are quite
alike, and the poet agreed with him. They did not, however, explain
their seeming paradox, so diametrically opposed to the current notion
that love is everywhere and always the same, in individuals as in
nations; nor could they have explained it unless they had analyzed
love into its component elements as I have done in this volume. With
the aid of this analysis it is easy to show how and why love has
changed and grown, like other sentiments; to explain how and why the
love of a civilized white man must differ from that of an Australian
or African savage, just as their faces differ. Since no two races look
alike, and no two individuals in the same race, why should their loves
be alike? Is not love the heart of the soul and the face merely its
mirror? Love is varied through a thousand climatic, racial, family,
and cultural peculiarities. It is varied through individual tastes and
proclivities. In one case of love admiration of personal beauty may be
the strongest ingredient, in another jealous monopoly, in a third
self-sacrificing affection, and so on. The permutations and
combinations are countless, and hence it is that love-stories are
always fresh, since they can be endlessly varied. A lover's varied
feelings in relation to the beloved become gradually blended into a
sentiment which is a composite photograph of all the emotions she has
ever aroused in him. This has given rise to the delusion that love is
a simple feeling.[117]


In the introductory chapter of this book I alluded briefly to my
reasons for calling pure prematrimonial infatuation romantic love,
giving some historic precedents for such a use of the word. We are now
in a position to appreciate the peculiar appropriateness of the term.
What is the dictionary definition of "romantic"?

     "Pertaining to or resembling romance, or an ideal state of
     things; partaking of the heroic, the marvellous, the
     supernatural, or the imaginative; chimerical, fanciful,
     extravagantly enthusiastic."

Every one of these terms applies to love in the sense in which I use
the word. Love is ideal, heroic, marvellous, imaginative, chimerical,
fanciful, extravagantly enthusiastic; its hyperbolic adoration even
gives it a supernatural tinge, for the adored girl seems more like an
angel or a fairy than a common mortal. The lover's heroine is as
fictitious as any heroine of romance; he considers her the most
beautiful and lovable person in the world, though to others she may
seem ugly and ill-tempered. Thus love is called romantic, because it
is so great a romancer, attributing to the beloved all sorts of
perfections which exist only in the lover's fancy. What could be more
fantastic than a lover's stubborn preference for a particular
individual and his conviction that no one ever loved so frantically as
he does? What more extravagant and unreasonable than his imperious
desire to completely monopolize her affection, sometimes guarding her
jealously even from her girl friends or her nearest relatives? What
more romantic than the tortures and tragedies, the mixed emotions,
that doubt or jealousy gives rise to? Does not a willing but coyly
reserved maiden romance about her feelings? What could be more
fanciful and romantic than her shy reserve and coldness when she is
longing to throw herself into the lover's arms? Is not her proud
belief that her lover--probably as commonplace and foolish a fellow as
ever lived--is a hero or a genius a romantic exaggeration? Is not the
lover's purity of imagination, though real as a feeling, a romantic
illusion, since he craves ultimate possession of her and would be the
unhappiest of mortals if she went to a nunnery, though she promised to
love him always? What could be more marvellous, more chimerical, than
this temporary suppression of a strong appetite at the time when it
would be supposed to manifest itself most irresistibly--this
distilling of the finer emotions, leaving all the gross, material
elements behind? Can you imagine anything more absurdly romantic than
the gallant attentions of a man on his knees before a girl whom, with
his stronger muscles, he could command as a slave? Who but a romantic
lover would obliterate his selfish ego in sympathetic devotion to
another, trying to feel her feelings, forgetting his own? Who but a
romantic lover would sacrifice his life in the effort to save or
please another? A mother would indeed do the same for her child; but
the child is of her own flesh and blood, whereas the beloved may have
been a stranger until an hour ago. How romantic!

The appropriateness of the word romantic is still further emphasized
by the consideration that, just as romantic art, romantic literature,
and romantic music are a revolt against artificial rules and barriers
to the free expression of feeling, so romantic love is a revolt
against the obstacles to free matrimonial choice imposed by parental
and social tyranny.

Indeed, I can see only one objection to the use of the word--its
frequent application to any strange or exciting incidents, whence some
confusion may ensue. But the trouble is obviated by simply bearing in
mind the distinction between romantic _incidents_ and romantic
_feelings_ which I have summed up in the maxim that _a romantic
love-story is not necessarily a story of romantic love_. Nearly all
the tales brought together in this volume are romantic love-stories,
but not one of them is a story of romantic love. In the end the
antithesis will aid us in remembering the distinction.

In place of "romantic" I might have used the word "sentimental"; but
in the first place that word fails to indicate the essentially
romantic nature of love, on which I have just dwelt; and secondly, it
also is liable to be misunderstood, because of its unfortunate
association with the word sentimentality, which is a very different
thing from sentiment. The differences between sentiment,
sentimentality, and sensuality are indeed important enough to merit a
brief chapter of elucidation.


From beginnings not yet understood--though Haeckel and others have
speculated plausibly on the subject--there has been developed in
animals and human beings an appetite which insures the perpetuation of
the species as the appetite for food does that of the individual. Both
these appetites pass through various degrees of development, from the
utmost grossness to a high degree of refinement, from which, however,
relapses occur in many individuals. We read of Indians tearing out the
liver from living animals and devouring it raw and bloody; of Eskimos
eating the contents of a reindeer's stomach as a vegetable dish; and
the books of explorers describe many scenes like the following from
Baker's _Ismailia_ (275) relating to the antics of negroes after
killing a buffalo:

     "There was now an extraordinary scene over the carcass; four
     hundred men scrambling over a mass of blood and entrails,
     fighting and tearing with each other and cutting off pieces
     of flesh with their lance-heads, with which they escaped as
     dogs may retreat with a bone."


What aeons of culture lie between such a scene and a dinner party in
Europe or America, with its refined, well-behaved guests, its table
etiquette, its varied menu, its choice viands, skilfully cooked and
blended so as to bring out the most diverse and delicate flavors, its
esthetic features--fine linen and porcelains, silver and cut glass,
flowers, lights--its bright conversation, and flow of wit. Yet there
are writers who would have us believe that these Indians, Eskimos, and
Africans, who manifest their appetite for food in so disgustingly
coarse a way, are in their love-affairs as sentimental and aesthetic
as we are! In truth they are as gross, gluttonous, and selfish in the
gratification of one appetite as in that of the other. To a savage a
woman is not an object of chaste adoration and gallant devotion, but a
mere bait for wanton lust; and when his lust hath dined he kicks her
away like a mangy dog till he is hungry again. In Ploss-Bartels[118]
may be found an abundance of facts culled from various sources in all
parts of the world, showing that the bestiality of many savages is not
even restrained by the presence of spectators. At the phallic and
bacchanalian festivals of ancient and Oriental nations all
distinctions of rank and all family ties were forgotten in a carnival
of lust. Licentious orgies are indeed carried on to this day in our
own large cities; but their participants are the criminal classes, and
occasionally some foolish young men who would be very much ashamed to
have their doings known; whereas the orgies and phallic festivals of
savages and barbarians are national or tribal institutions, approved
by custom, sanctioned by religion, and indulged in openly by every man
and woman in the community; often regardless even of incest.

More shockingly still are the grossness and diabolical selfishness of
the savage's carnal appetite revealed by his habit of sacrificing
young girls to it years before they have reached the age of puberty.
Some details will be found in the chapters on Australia, Africa, and
India. Here it may be noted--to indicate the wide prevalence of a
custom which it would be unjust to animals to call bestial, because
beasts never sink so low--that Borneans, as Schwaner notes, marry off
girls from three to five; that in Egypt child-wives of seven or eight
can be seen; that Javanese girls may be married at seven; that North
American Indians often took brides of ten or eleven, while in Southern
Australia girls were appropriated as early as seven. Hottentot girls
were not spared after the age of seven, nor were Bushman girls, though
they did not become mothers till ten or twelve years old; while Kaffir
girls married at eight, Somals at six to eight. The cause of these
early marriages is not climatic, as some fancy, but simply, as
Roberton has pointed out, the coarseness of the men. The list might be
extended indefinitely. In Old Calabar sometimes, we read in Ploss,

     "a man who has already several wives may be seen with an
     infant of two or three weeks on his lap, caressing and
     kissing it as his wife. Wives of four to six years we found
     occasionally (in China, Guzuate, Ceylon, and Brazil); from
     seven to nine years on they are no longer rare, and the
     years from ten to twelve are a widely prevalent marriage

The amorous savage betrays his inferiority to animals not only in his
cruel maltreatment of girls before they have reached the age of
puberty,[119] but in his ignorance, in most cases, of the simplest
caresses and kisses for which we often find corresponding acts in
birds and other animals. The nerves of primitive men are too coarse
for such a delicate sensation as labial contact, and an embrace would
leave them cold. An African approximation to a kiss is described by
Baker (_Ismailia_, 472). He had liberated a number of female slaves,
and presently, he says, "I found myself in the arms of a naked beauty,
who kissed me almost to suffocation, and, with a most unpleasant
embrace, licked both my eyes with her tongue." If we may venture an
inference from Mr. A.H. Savage Landor's experience[120] among the
aboriginal Ainos of Yezo (Japan), one of the lowest of human races, we
may conclude that, in the course of evolution, biting preceded
kissing. He had made the acquaintance of an Ainu maiden, the most
lovely Ainu girl he had ever come across. They strolled together into
the woods, and he sketched her picture. She clutched his hand tightly,
and pressed it to her chest:

     "I would not have mentioned this small episode if her ways
     of flirting had not been so extraordinary and funny. Loving
     and biting went together with her.... As we sat on a stone
     in the semi-darkness she began by gently biting my fingers
     without hurting me, as affectionate dogs often do their
     masters; she then bit my arm, then my shoulder, and when she
     had worked herself up into a passion she put her arms round
     my neck and bit my cheeks. It was undoubtedly a curious way
     of making love, and when I had been bitten all over, and was
     pretty tired of the new sensation, we retired to our
     respective homes."

Sensuality has had its own evolution quite apart and distinct from
that of love. The ancient Greeks and Romans, and the Orientals,
especially the Hindoos, were familiar, thousands of years ago, with
refinements and variations of lust beyond which the human imagination
cannot go. According to Burton,

     "Kornemannus in his book _de linea amoris,_ makes five
     degrees of lust, out of Lucian belike, which he handles in
     five chapters, _Visus, Colloquium, Convictus, Oscula,
     Tactus_--sight, conference, association, kisses, touch."

All these degrees are abundantly illustrated in Burton, often in a way
that would not bear quotation in a modern book intended for general

It is interesting to observe, furthermore, that among the higher
barbarians and civilized races, lust has become to a certain extent
mentalized through hereditary memory and association. Aristotle made a
marvellous anticipation of modern scientific thought when he suggested
that what made birds sing in spring was the memory of former seasons
of love. In men as in animals, the pleasant experiences of love and
marriage become gradually ingrained in the brain, and when a youth
reaches the age for love-making the memory of ancestral amorous
experiences courses through his nerves vaguely but strongly. He longs
for something, he knows not what, and this mental longing is one of
the earliest and strongest symptoms of love. But it characterizes all
sorts of love; it may accompany pure fancies of the sentimental lover,
but it may also be a result of the lascivious imaginings and
anticipations of sensualism. It does not, therefore, in itself prove
the presence of romantic love; a point on which I must place great
emphasis, because certain primitive poems expressing a longing for an
absent girl or man have been quoted as positive evidence of romantic
love, when as a matter of fact there is nothing to prove that they may
not have been inspired by mere sensual desires. I shall cite and
comment on these poems in later chapters.

Loss of sleep, loss of appetite, leanness, hollow eyes, groans,
griefs, sadness, sighing, sobbing, alternating blushes and pallor,
feverish or unequal pulse, suicidal impulses, are other symptoms
occurring among such advanced nations as the Greeks and Hindoos and
often accepted as evidence of true love; but since, like longing, they
also accompany lust and other strong passions or violent emotions,
they cannot be accepted as reliable symptoms of romantic love. The
only certain criteria of love are to be found in the manifestation of
the altruistic factors--sympathy, gallantry, and self-sacrificing
affection. Romantic love is, as I have remarked before, not merely an
emotional phenomenon, but an _active impulse._ The true lover does
not, like the sensualist and the sentimentalist, ululate his time away
in dismal wailing about his bodily aches and tremors, woes and
pallors, but lets his feelings expend themselves in multitudinous acts
revealing his eagerness to immolate his personal pleasures on the
altar of his idol.

It must not be supposed that sensual love is necessarily coarse and
obscene. An antique love-scene may in itself be proper and exquisitely
poetic without rising to the sphere of romantic love; as when
Theocritus declares: "I ask not for the land of Pelops nor for talents
of gold. But under this rock will I sing, holding you in my arms,
looking at the flocks feeding together toward the Sicilian Sea." A
pretty picture; but what evidence is there in it of affection? It is
pleasant for a man to hold a girl in his arms while gazing at the
Sicilian Sea, even though he does not love her any more than a
thousand other girls.

Even in Oriental literature, usually so gross and licentious, one may
come across a charmingly poetic yet entirely sensual picture like the
following from the Persian _Gulistan_ (339). On a very hot day, when
he was a young man, Saadi found the hot wind drying up the moisture of
his mouth and melting the marrow of his bones. Looking for a refuge
and refreshment, he beheld a moon-faced damsel of supreme loveliness
in the shaded portico of a mansion:

     "She held in her hand a goblet of snow-cold water, into
     which she dropt some sugar, and tempered it with spirit of
     wine; but I know not whether she scented it with attar, or
     sprinkled it with a few blossoms from her own rosy cheek. In
     short, I received the beverage from her idol-fair hand: and
     having drunk it off, found myself restored to new life."

Ward writes (115) that the following account of Sharuda, the daughter
of Brumha, translated from the Shiva Purana, may serve as a just
description of a perfect Hindoo beauty. This girl was of a yellow
color; had a nose like the flower of a secamum; her legs were taper,
like the plantain-tree; her eyes large, like the principal leaf of the
lotos; her eyebrows extended to her ears; her lips were red, like the
young leaves of the mango-tree; her face was like the full moon; her
voice like the sound of the cuckoo; her throat was like that of a
pigeon; her loins narrow, like those of a lion; her hair hung in curls
down to her feet; her teeth were like the seeds of the pomegranate;
and her gait like that of a drunken elephant or a goose.

There is nothing coarse in this description, yet every detail is
purely sensual, and so it is with the thousands of amorous rhapsodies
of Hindoo, Persian, Turkish, Arabic, and other Eastern poets.
Concerning the Persians, Dr. Polak remarks (I., 206) that the word
_Ischk_ (love) is always associated with the idea of carnality
(_Was'l_). Of the Arabs, Burckardt says that "the passion of love
is indeed much talked of by the inhabitants of the towns; but I doubt
whether anything is meant by them more than the grossest animal
desire." In his letters from the East the keen-eyed Count von Moltke
notes that the Turk "passes over all the preliminary rigmarole of
falling in love, paying court, languishing, revelling in ecstatic joy,
as so much _faux frais_, and goes straight to the point."


But is the German field-marshal quite just to the Turk? I have before
me a passage which seems to indicate that these Orientals do know a
thing or two about the "rigmarole of love-making." It is cited by
Kremer[121] from the Kitâb almowaschâ, a book treating of social
matters in Baghdad. Its author devotes a special chapter to the
dangers lurking in female singers and musical slaves, in the course of
which he says:

     "If one of these girls meets a rich young man, she sets
     about ensnaring him, makes eyes at him, invites him with
     gestures, sings for him ... drinks the wine he left in his
     cup, throws kisses with her hands, till she has the poor
     fellow in her net and he is enamoured. ... Then she sends
     messages to him and continues her crafty arts, lets him
     understand that she is losing sleep for love of him, is
     pining for him; maybe she sends him a ring, or a lock of her
     hair, a paring of her nails, a splinter from her lute, or
     part of her toothbrush, or a piece of fragrant gum (chewed
     by her) as a substitute for a kiss, or a note written and
     folded with her own hands and tied with a string from her
     lute, with a tearstain on it; and finally sealed with
     Ghâlija, her ring, on which some appropriate words are

Having captured her victim, she makes him give her valuable presents
till his purse is empty, whereupon she discards him.

Was Count Moltke, then, wrong? Have we here, after all, the
sentimental symptoms of romantic love? Let us apply the tests provided
by our analysis of love--tests as reliable as those which chemists use
to analyze fluids or gases. Did the Baghdad music-girl prefer that man
to all other individuals? Did she want to monopolize him jealously?
Oh, no! any man, however old and ugly, would have suited her, provided
he had plenty of money. Was she coy toward him? Perhaps; but not from
a feeling of modesty and timidity inspired by love, but to make him
more ardent and ready to pay. Was she proud of his love? She thought
him a fool. Were her feelings toward him chaste and pure? As chaste
and pure as his. Did she sympathize with his pleasures and pains? She
dismissed him as soon as his purse was empty, and looked about for
another victim. Were his presents the result of gallant impulses to
please her, or merely advance payment for favors expected? Would he
have sacrificed his life to save her any more than she would hers to
save him? Did he respect her as an immaculate superior being, adore
her as an angel from above--or look on her as an inferior, a slave in
rank, a slave to passion?

The obvious moral of this immoral episode is that it is not
permissible to infer the existence of anything higher than sensual
love from the mere fact that certain romantic tricks are associated
with the amorous dalliance of Orientals, or Greeks and Romans.
Drinking from the same cup, throwing kisses, sending locks of hair or
tear-stained letters, adjusting a foot-stool, or fanning a heated
brow, are no doubt romantic _incidents_, but they are no proof of
romantic _feeling_ for the reason that they are frequently associated
with the most heartless and mercenary sensuality. The coquetry of the
Baghdad girl is romantic, but there is no _sentiment_ in it. Yet--and
here we reach the most important aspect of that episode--there is an
_affectation of sentiment_ in that sending of locks, notes, and
splinters from her lute; and this affectation of sentiment is
designated by the word _sentimentality_. In the history of love
sentimentality precedes sentiment; and for a proper understanding of
the history and psychology of love it is as important to distinguish
sentimentality from sentiment as it is to differentiate love from

When Lowell wrote, "Let us be thankful that in every man's life there
is a holiday of romance, _an illumination of the senses by the soul_,
that makes him a poet while it lasts," he made a sad error in assuming
that there is such a holiday of romance in every man's life; millions
never enjoy it; but the words I have italicized--"an illumination of
the senses by the soul"--are one of those flashes of inspiration which
sometimes enable a poet to give a better description of a psychic
process than professional philosophers have put forth.

From one point of view the love sentiment may be called an
illumination of the senses by the soul. Elsewhere Lowell has given
another admirable definition: "Sentiment is intellectualized emotion,
emotion precipitated, as it were, in pretty crystals of thought."
Excellent, too, is J.F. Clarke's definition: "Sentiment is nothing but
thought blended with feeling; _thought made affectionate, sympathetic,
moral_." The Century Dictionary throws further light on this word:

     "Sentiment has a peculiar place between thought and feeling,
     in which it also approaches the meaning of principle. It is
     more than that feeling which is sensation or emotion, by
     containing more of thought and by being _more lofty_, while
     it contains too much feeling to be merely thought, and it
     _has large influence over the will_; for example, the
     sentiment of patriotism; the sentiment of honor; the world
     is ruled by sentiment. The thought in a sentiment is often
     that of _duty_, and is penetrated and _exalted_ by feeling."

Herbert Spencer sums up the matter concisely _(Psych_., II., 578) when
he speaks of "that remoteness from sensations and appetites and from
ideas of such sensations and appetites which is the common trait of
the feelings we call sentiments."

It is hardly necessary to point out that in our Baghdad girl's
love-affairs there is no "remoteness from sensations and appetites,"
no "illumination of the senses by the soul," no "intellectualized
emotion," no "thought made affectionate, sympathetic, moral." But
there is in it, as I have said, a touch of sentimentality. If
sentiment is properly defined as "higher feeling," sentimentality is
"_affectation_ of fine or tender feeling or exquisite sensibility."
Heartless coquetry, prudery, mock modesty, are bosom friends of
sentimentality. While sentiment is the noblest thing in the world,
sentimentality is its counterfeit, its caricature; there is something
theatrical, operatic, painted-and-powdered about it; it differs from
sentiment as astrology differs from astronomy, alchemy from chemistry,
the sham from the real, hypocrisy from sincerity, artificial posing
from natural grace, genuine affection from selfish attachment.


Sentimentality, as I have said, precedes sentiment in the history of
love, and it has been a special characteristic of certain periods,
like that of the Alexandrian Greeks and their Roman imitators, to whom
we shall recur in a later chapter, and the mediaeval Troubadours and
Minnesingers. To the present day sentimentality in love is so much
more abundant than sentiment that the adjective sentimental is
commonly used in an uncomplimentary sense, as in the following passage
from one of Krafft-Ebing's books (_Psch. Sex_., 9):

     "Sentimental love runs the risk of degenerating into
     caricature, especially in cases where the sensual ingredient
     is weak.... Such love has a flat, saccharine tang. It is apt
     to become positively ludicrous, whereas in other cases the
     manifestations of this strongest of all feelings inspire in
     us sympathy, respect, awe, according to circumstances."

Steele speaks in _The Lover_ (23, No. 5) of the extraordinary skill of
a poet in making a loose people "attend to a Passion which they never,
or that very faintly, felt in their own Bosoms." La Rochefoucauld
wrote: "It is with true love as with ghosts; everybody speaks of it,
but few have seen it." A writer in _Science_ expressed his belief that
romantic love, as described in my first book, could really be
experienced only by men of genius. I think that this makes the circle
too small; yet in these twelve years of additional observation I have
come to the conclusion that even at this stage of civilization only a
small proportion of men and women are able to experience full-fledged
romantic love, which seems to require a special emotional or esthetic
gift, like the talent for music. A few years ago I came across the
following in the London _Tidbits_ which echoes the sentiments of

     "Latour, who sent a pathetic complaint the other day that
     though he wished to do so he was unable to fall in love, has
     called forth a sympathetic response from a number of readers
     of both sexes. These ladies and gentlemen write to say that
     they also, like Latour, cannot understand how it is that
     they are not able to feel any experience of tender passion
     which they read about so much in novels, and hear about in
     actual life."

At the same time there are not a few men of genius, too, who never
felt true love in their own hearts. Herder believed that Goethe was
not capable of genuine love, and Grimm, too, thought that Goethe had
never experienced a self-absorbing passion. Tolstoi must have been
ever a stranger to genuine love, for to him it seems a degrading thing
even in marriage. A suggestive and frank confession may be found in
the literary memoirs of Goncourt.[122] At a small gathering of men of
letters Goncourt remarked that hitherto love had not been studied
scientifically in novels. Zola thereupon declared that love was not a
specific emotion; that it does not affect persons so absolutely as the
writers say; that the phenomena characterizing it are also found in
friendship, in patriotism, and that the intensity of this emotion is
due entirely to the anticipation of carnal enjoyment. Turgenieff
objected to these views; in his opinion love is a sentiment which has
a unique color of its own--a quality differentiating it from all other
sentiments--eliminating the lover's own personality, as it were. The
Russian novelist obviously had a conception of the purity of love, for
Goncourt reports him as "speaking of his first love for a woman as a
thing entirely spiritual, having nothing in common with materiality."
And now follows Goncourt's confession:

     "In all this, the thing to regret is that neither Flaubert
     ... nor Zola, nor myself, have ever been very seriously in
     love and that we are therefore unable to describe love.
     Turgenieff alone could have done that, but he lacks
     precisely the critical sense which we could have exercised
     in this matter had we been in love after his fashion."

The vast majority of the human race has not yet got beyond
the sensual stage of amorous evolution, or realized the
between sentimentality and sentiment. There is much
food for thought in this sentence from Henry James's charming
essay on France's most poetic writer--Théophile Gautier:

     "It has seemed to me rather a painful exhibition of the
     prurience of the human mind that in most of the notices of
     the author's death (those at least published in England and
     America), this work alone [_Mile. de Maupin_] should have
     been selected as the critic's text."

Readers are interested only in emotions with which they are familiar
by experience. Howells's refined love-scenes have often been sneered
at by men who like raw whiskey but cannot appreciate the delicate
bouquet of Chambertin. As Professor Ribot remarks: in the higher
regions of science, art, religion, and morals there are emotions so
subtle and elevated that

     "not more than one individual in a hundred thousand or even
     in a million can experience them. The others are strangers
     to them, or do not know of their existence except vaguely,
     from what they hear about them. It is a promised land, which
     only the select can enter."

I believe that romantic love is a sentiment which more than one person
in a million can experience, and more than one in a hundred thousand.
How many more, I shall not venture to guess. All the others know love
only as a sensual craving. To them "I love you" means "I long for you,
covet you, am eager to enjoy you"; and this feeling is not love of
another but self-love, more or less disguised--the kind of "love"
which makes a young man shoot a girl who refuses him. The mediaeval
writer Leon Hebraeus evidently knew of no other when he defined love
as "a desire to enjoy that which is good"; nor Spinoza when he defined
it as _laetetia concomitante idea externae causae_--a pleasure
accompanied by the thought of its external cause.


Having distinguished romantic or sentimental love from sentimentality
on one side and sensuality on the other, it remains to show how it
differs from conjugal affection.


On hearing the words "love letters," does anybody ever think of a
man's letters to his wife? No more than of his letters to his mother.
He may love both his wife and his mother dearly, but when he writes
love letters he writes them to his sweetheart. Thus, public opinion
and every-day literary usage clearly recognize the difference between
romantic love and conjugal affection. Yet when I maintained in my
first book that romantic love differs as widely from conjugal
affection as maternal love differs from friendship; that romantic love
is almost as modern as the telegraph, the railway, and the electric
light; and that perhaps the main reasons why no one had anticipated me
in an attempt to write a book to prove this, were that no distinction
had heretofore been made between conjugal and romantic love, and that
the apparent occurrence of noble examples of conjugal attachment among
the ancient Greeks had obscured the issue--there was a chorus of
dissenting voices. "The distinction drawn by him between romantic and
conjugal love," wrote one critic, "seems more fanciful than real." "He
will not succeed," wrote another, "in convincing anybody that romantic
and conjugal love differ in kind instead of only in degree or place";
while a third even objected to my theory as "essentially immoral!"

Mr. W.D. Howells, on the other hand, accepted my distinction, and in a
letter to me declared that he found conjugal affection an even more
interesting field of study than romantic love. Why, indeed, should
anyone be alarmed at the distinction I made? Is not a man's feeling
toward his sweetheart different from his feeling toward his mother or
sister? Why then should it be absurd or "immoral" to maintain that it
differs from his feeling toward his wife? What I maintain is that
romantic love disappears gradually, to be replaced, as a rule, by
conjugal affection, which is sometimes a less intense, at other times
a more intense, feeling than the emotions aroused during courtship.
The process may be compared to a modulation in music, in which some of
the tones in a chord are retained while others are displaced by new
ones. Such modulations are delightful, and the new harmony may be as
beautiful as the old. A visitor to Wordsworth's home wrote:

     "I saw the old man walking in the garden with his wife. They
     were both quite old, and he was almost blind; but they
     seemed like sweethearts courting, they were so tender to
     each other and attentive."

A husband may be, and should be, quite as tender, as attentive, as
gallant and self-sacrificing, as sympathetic, proud, and devoted as a
lover; yet all his emotions will appear in a new orchestration, as it
were. In the gallant attentions of a loving husband, the anxious
eagerness to please is displaced by a pleasant sense of duty and
gentlemanly courtesy. He still prefers his wife to all other women and
wants a monopoly of her love; but this feeling has a proprietary tinge
that was absent before. Jealousy, too, assumes a new aspect; it may,
temporarily, bring back the uncertainty of courtship, but the emotion
is colored by entirely different ideas: jealousy in a lover is a
green-eyed monster gnawing merely at his hopes, and not, as in a
husband, threatening to destroy his property and his family
honor--which makes a great difference in the quality of the feeling
and its manifestation. The wife, on her part, has no more use for
coyness, but can indulge in the luxury of bestowing gallant attentions
which before marriage would have seemed indelicate or forward, while
after marriage they are a pleasant duty, rising in some cases to
heroic self-sacrifice.

If even within the sphere of romantic love no two cases are exactly
alike, how could love before marriage be the same as after marriage
when so many new experiences, ideas, and associations come into play?
Above all, the feelings relating to the children bring an entirely new
group of tones into the complex harmony of affection. The intimacies
of married life, the revelation of characteristics undiscovered before
marriage, the deeper sympathy, the knowledge that theirs is "one glory
an' one shame"--these and a hundred other domestic experiences make
romantic love undergo a change into something that may be equally rich
and strange but is certainly quite different. A wife's charms are
different from a girl's and inspire a different kind of love. The
husband loves

     Those virtues which, before untried,
     The wife has added to the bride,

as Samuel Bishop rhymes it. In their predilection for maidens, poets,
like novelists, have until recently ignored the wife too much. But
Cowper sang:

     What is there in the vale of life
     Half so delightful as a wife,
     When friendship, love and peace combine
     To stamp the marriage bond divine?
     The stream of pure and genuine love
     Derives its current from above;
     And earth a second Eden shows,
     Where'er the healing water flows.

Some of the specifically romantic ingredients of love, on the other
hand--adoration, hyperbole, the mixed moods of hope and despair--do
not normally enter into conjugal affection. No one would fail to see
the absurdity of a husband's exclaiming

     O that I were a glove upon that hand
     That I might touch that cheek.

He _may_ touch that cheek, and kiss it too--and that makes a
tremendous difference in the tone and tension of his feelings. Unlike
the lover, the husband does not think, feel, and speak in perpetual
hyperboles. He does not use expressions like "beautiful tyrant, fiend
angelical," or speak of

     The cruel madness of love
     The honey of poisonous flowers.

There is no madness or cruelty in conjugal love: in its normal state
it is all peace, contentment, happiness, while romantic love, in its
normal state, is chiefly unrest, doubt, fear, anxiety, torture and
anguish of heart--with alternating hours of frantic elation--until the
Yes has been spoken.

The emotions of a husband are those of a mariner who has entered into
the calm harbor of matrimony with his treasure safe and sound, while
the romantic lover is as one who is still on the high seas of
uncertainty, storm-tossed one moment, lifted sky-high on a wave of
hope, the next in a dark abyss of despair. It is indeed lucky that
conjugal affection does differ so widely from romantic love; such
nervous tension, doubt, worry, and constant friction between hope and
despair would, if continued after marriage, make life a burden to the
most loving couples.


The notion that genuine romantic love does not undergo a metamorphosis
in marriage is the first of five mistakes I have undertaken to correct
in this chapter. The second is summed up in Westermarck's assertion
(359-60) that it is

     "impossible to believe that there ever was a time when
     conjugal affection was entirely wanting in the human race
     ... it seems, in its most primitive form, to have been as
     old as marriage itself. It must be a certain degree of
     affection that induces the male to defend the female during
     her period of pregnancy."

Now I concede that natural selection must have developed at an early
period in the history of man, as in the lower animals, some kind of an
_attachment_ between male and females. A wife could not seek her daily
food in the forest and at the same time defend herself and her
helpless babe against wild beasts and human enemies. Hence natural
selection favored those groups in which the males attached themselves
to a particular female for a longer time than the breeding-season,
defending her from enemies and giving her a share of their game. But
from this admitted fact to the inference that it is "affection" that
makes the husband defend his wife, there is a tremendous logical skip
not warranted by the situation. Instead of making such an assumption
offhand, the scientific method requires us to ask if there is not some
other way of accounting for the facts more in accordance with the
selfish disposition and habits of savages. The solution of the problem
is easily found. A savage's wife is his property, which he has
acquired by barter, service, fighting, or purchase, and which he would
be a fool not to protect against injury or rivals. She is to him a
source of utility, comfort, and pleasure, which is reason enough why
he should not allow a lion to devour her or a rival to carry her off.
She is his cook, his slave, his mule; she fetches wood and water,
prepares the food, puts up the camp, and when it is time to move
carries the tent and kitchen utensils, as well as her child to the
next place. If his motive in protecting her against men and beasts
were _affection_, he would not thus compel her to do all the work
while he walks unburdened to the next camping-place.

Apart from these home comforts there are selfish reasons enough why
savages should take the trouble to protect their wives and rear
children. In Australia it is a universal custom to exchange a daughter
for a new wife, discarding or neglecting the old one; and the habit of
treating children as merchandise prevails in various other parts of
the world. The gross utilitarianism of South African marriages is
illustrated in Dr. Fritsch's remarks on the Ama-Zulus. "As these women
too are slaves, there is not much to say about love, marriage, or
conjugal life," he says. The husband pays for his wife, but expects
her to repay him for his outlay by hard work and _by bearing children
whom he can sell_. "If she fails to make herself thus useful, if she
falls ill, becomes weak, or remains childless, he often sends her back
to her father and demands restitution of the cattle he had paid for
her;" and his demand has to be complied with. Lord Randolph Churchill
(249) was informed by a native of Mashonaland that he had his eye on a
girl whom he desired to marry, because "if he was lucky, his wife
might have daughters whom he would be able to sell in exchange for
goats." Samuel Baker writes in one of his books of African exploration
(_Ism_., 341):

     "Girls are always purchased if required as wives. It would
     be quite impossible to obtain a wife for love from any tribe
     that I have visited. 'Blessed is he that hath his quiver
     full of them' (daughters). A large family of girls is a
     source of wealth to the father, as he sells each daughter
     for twelve or fifteen cows to her suitor."

Of the Central African, Macdonald says (I., 141):

     "The more wives he has the richer he is. It is his wives
     that maintain him. They do all his ploughing, milling,
     cooking, etc. They may be viewed as superior servants, who
     combine all the capacities of male servants and female
     servants in Britain--who do all his work and ask no wages."

We need not assume a problematic affection to explain why such a man

But the savage's principal marriage motive is, of course, sensualism.
If he wants to own a particular girl he must take care of her. If he
tires of her it is easy enough to get rid of her or to make her a
drudge pure and simple, while her successor enjoys his caresses.
Speaking of Pennsylvania Indians, Buchanan remarks naïvely (II., 95)
that "the wives are the true servants of their husbands; otherwise the
men are very affectionate to them." On another page (102) he
inadvertently explains what he means by this paradox: "the ancient
women are used for cooks, barbers, and other services, the younger for
dalliance." In other words, Buchanan makes the common mistake of
applying the altruistic word affection to what is nothing more than
selfish indulgence of the sensual appetite. So does Pajeken when he
tells us in the _Ausland_ about the "touching tenderness" of a Crow
chief toward a fourteen-year-old girl whom he had just added to the
number of his wives.

     "While he was in the wigwam he did not leave her a
     moment. With his own hands he adorned her with chains,
     and strings of teeth and pearls, and he found a special
     pleasure in combing her black, soft, silken hair. He
     gambolled with her like a child and rocked her on his
     knees, telling her stories. Of his other wives he
     demanded the utmost respect in their treatment of his
     little one."

This reference to the other wives ought to have opened Pajeken's eyes
as to the silliness of speaking of the "touching" tenderness of the
Crow chief to his latest favorite. In a few years she was doomed to be
discarded, like the others, in favor of a new victim of his carnal
appetite. Affection is entirely out of the question in such cases.

The Malayans of Sumatra have, as Carl Bock tells us (314), a local
custom allowing a wife to marry again if her faithless spouse has
deserted her for three months:

     "The early age at which marriage is contracted is an
     obstacle to any real affection between couples; for
     girls to be wives at fourteen is a common occurrence;
     indeed, that age may be put down as the average age of
     first marriage. The girls are then frequently
     good-looking, but hard work and the cares of maternity
     soon stamp their faces with the marks of age, and spoil
     their figures, and then the Malay husband forsakes his
     wife, if, indeed, he keeps her so long."

Marriage with these people is, as Bock adds, a mere matter of pounds,
shillings, and pence. His servant had married a "grass-widow" of three
months' desertion. But

     "before she had enjoyed her new title six weeks, a coolness
     sprang up between her and her husband. I inquired the
     reason, and she naïvely confessed that her husband had no
     more rupees to give her, and so she did not care for him any

Concerning Damara women Galton writes (197):

     "They were extremely patient, though not feminine,
     according to our ideas: they had no strong affections
     either for spouse or children; in fact, the spouse was
     changed almost weekly, and I seldom knew without
     inquiry who the _pro tempore_ husband of each lady was
     at any particular time."

Among the Singhalese, if a wife is sick and can no longer minister to
her husband's comforts and pleasure he repudiates her. Bailey
says[123] that this heartless desertion of a sick wife is "the worst
trait in the Kandyan character, and the cool and unconcerned manner in
which they themselves allude to it shows that it is as common as it is

"How can a man be contented with one wife," exclaimed an Arab sheik to
Sir Samuel Baker (_N.T.A._, 263). "It is ridiculous, absurd." And then
he proceeded to explain why, in his opinion, monogamy is such an

     "What is he to do when she becomes old? When she is
     young, if very lovely, perhaps, he might be satisfied
     with her, but even the young must some day grow old,
     and the beautiful must fade. The man does not fade like
     a woman; therefore, as he remains the same for many
     years, Nature has arranged that the man shall have
     young wives to replace the old; does not the prophet
     allow it?"

He then pointed out what further advantage there was in having several

     "This one carries water, that one grinds corn; this
     makes the bread; the last does not do much, as she is
     the youngest and my favorite; and if they neglect their
     work they get a taste of this!"

shaking a long and tolerably thick stick.

There you have the typical male polygamist with his reasons frankly
stated--sensual gratification and utilitarianism.


One of the most gossipy and least critical of all writers on primitive
man, Bonwick, declares (97), in describing Tasmanian funerals, that

     "the affectionate nature of women appeared on such
     melancholy occasions.... The women not only wept, but
     lacerated their bodies with sharp shells and stones, even
     burning their thighs with fire-sticks.... The hair cut off
     in grief was thrown upon the mound."

Descriptions of the howling and tortures to which savages subject
themselves as part of their funeral rites abound in works of travel,
and although every school-boy knows that the deepest waters are
silent, it is usually assumed that these howling antics betray the
deep grief and affection of the mourners. Now I do not deny that the
lower races do feel grief at the loss of a relative or friend; it is
one of the earliest emotions to develop in mankind. What I object to
in particular is the notion that the penances to which widows submit
on the death of their husbands indicate deep and genuine conjugal
affection. As a matter of fact, these penances are not voluntary but
prescribed, each widow in a tribe being expected to indulge in the
same howlings and mutilations, so that this circumstance alone would
make it impossible to say whether her lamentations over her late
spouse came under the head of affection, fondness, liking, or
attachment, or whether they are associated with indifference or
hatred. It is instructive to note that, in descriptions of mourning
widows, the words "must" or "obliged to" nearly always occur. Among
the Mandans, we read in Catlin (I., 95), "in mourning, like the Crows
and most other tribes, the women _are obliged_ to crop their hair all
off; and the usual term of that condolence is until the hair has grown
again to its former length." The locks of the men (who make them do
this), "are of much greater importance," and only one or two can be
spared. According to Schomburgk, on the death of her husband, an
Arawak wife _must_ cut her hair; and until this has again grown to a
certain length she _cannot_ remarry. (Spencer, _D.S._, 20.) Among the
Patagonians, "the widow, or widows, of the dead, are _obliged_ to
mourn and fast for a whole year after the death of their husbands."
They _must_ abstain from certain kinds of food, and _must not_ wash
their faces and hands for a whole year; while "during the year of
mourning they are _forbidden_ to marry." (Falkner, 119.) The grief is
all prescribed and regulated according to tribal fancy. The Brazilians
"repeat the lamentation for the dead twice a day." (Spix and Martins,
II., 250.) The Comanches

     "mourn for the dead _systematically and periodically_ with
     great noise and vehemence; at which time the _female_
     relatives of the deceased scarify their arms and legs with
     sharp flints until the blood trickles from a thousand pores.
     The duration of these lamentations depends on the quality
     and estimation of the deceased; varying from three to five
     or seven days."

(Schoolcraft, I., 237.) James Adair says in his _History of the
American Indians_ (188), "They _compel_ the widow to act the part of
the disconsolate dove, for the irreparable loss of her mate."

In Dahomey, during mourning "the weeping relatives _must_ fast and
refrain from bathing," etc. (Burton, II., 164.) In the Transvaal,
writes the missionary Posselt,

     "there are a number of heathenish customs which the widows
     are _obliged_ to observe. There is, first, the terrible
     lamentation for the dead. Secondly, the widows _must_ allow
     themselves to be fumigated," etc.

Concerning the Asiatic Turks Vambéry writes that the women are not
allowed to attend the funeral, but "are _obliged_ meanwhile to remain
in their tent, and, while lamenting incessantly, scratch their cheeks
with their nails, _i.e._, mar their beauty." The widow _must_ lament
or sing dirges for a whole year, etc. Chippewa widows are _obliged_ to
fast and must not comb their hair for a year or wear any ornament. A
Shushwap widow _must not_ allow her shadow to fall on any one, and
must bed her head on thorns. Bancroft notes (I., 731) that among the
Mosquito Indians

     "the widow was _bound_ to supply the grave of her husband
     with provisions for a year, after which she took up the
     bones and carried them with her for another year, at last
     placing them upon the roof of her house, and then only was
     she _allowed_ to marry again."

The widows of the Tolkotin Indians in Oregon were subjected to such
maltreatment that some of them committed suicide to escape their
sufferings. For nine days they were obliged to sleep beside the corpse
and follow certain rules in regard to dressing and eating. If a widow
neglected any of these, she was on the tenth day thrown on the funeral
pile with the corpse and tossed about and scorched till she lost
consciousness. Afterward she was obliged to perform the function of a
slave to all the other women and children of the tribe.[124]

So far as I am aware, no previous writer on the subject has emphasized
the obligatory character of all these performances by widows. To me
that seems by far the most important aspect of the question, as it
shows that the widows were not prompted to these actions by
affectionate grief or self-sacrificing impulses, but by the command of
the men; and if we bear in mind the superlative selfishness of these
men we have no difficulty in comprehending that what makes them compel
the women to do these penances is the desire to make them eager to
care for the comfort and welfare of their husbands lest the latter die
and they thus bring upon themselves the discomforts arid terrors of

Martius justly remarks that the great dependance of savage women makes
them eager to please their husbands (121); and this eagerness would
naturally be doubled by making widowhood forbidding. Bruhier wrote, in
1743, that in Corsica it was customary, in case a man died, for the
women to fall upon his widow and give her a sound drubbing. This
custom, he adds significantly, "prompted the women to take good care
of their husbands."

It is true that the widowers also in some cases subjected themselves
to penance; but usually they made it very much easier for themselves
than for the widows. In his _Lettres sur le Congo_ (152) Edouard
Dupont relates that a man who has lost his wife and wants to show
grief shaves his head, blackens himself, _stops work_, and sits in
front of his chimbeque several days. His neighbors meanwhile feed him
[no fasting for _him_!], and at last a friend brings him a calabash of
malofar and tells him "stop mourning or you will die of starvation."
"It does not happen often," Dupont adds, "that the advice is not
promptly followed."

Selfish utilitarianism does not desert the savage even at the grave of
his wife. An amusing illustration of the shallowness of aboriginal
grief where it seems "truly touching" may be found in an article by
the Rev. F. McFarlane on British New Guinea.[125] Scene: "A woman is
being buried. The husband is lying by the side of the grave,
apparently in an agony of grief; he sobs and cries as if his heart
would break." Then he jumps into the grave and whispers into the ears
of the corpse--what? a last farewell? Oh, no! "He is asking the spirit
of his wife to go with him when he goes fishing, and make him
successful also when he goes hunting, or goes to battle," etc.; his
last request being, "_And please don't be angry if I get another

The simple truth is that in their grief, as in everything else,
savages are nothing but big children, crying one moment, laughing the
next. Whatever feelings they may have are shallow and without
devotion. If the widows of Mandans, Arawaks, Patagonians, etc., do not
marry until a year after the death of their husband this is not on
account of affectionate grief, but, as we have seen, because they are
not allowed to. Where custom prescribes a different course, they
follow that with the same docility. When a Kansas or Osage wife finds,
on the return of a war-party, that she is a widow, she howls dismally,
but forthwith seeks an avenger in the shape of a new husband. "After
the death of a husband, the sooner a squaw marries again, the greater
respect and regard she is considered to show for his memory." (Hunter,
246.) The Australian custom for women, especially widows, is to mourn
by scratching the face and branding the body. As for the grief itself,
its quality may be inferred from the fact that these women sit day
after day by the grave or platform, howling their monotonous dirge,
but, as soon as they are allowed to pause for a meal they indulge in
the merriest pranks. (K.E. Jung, 111.)


In many cases the mourning of savages, instead of being an expression
of affection and grief, appears to be simply a mode of gratifying
their love of ceremonial and excitement. That is, they mourn for
entertainment--I had almost said for fun; and it is easy to see too,
that vanity and superstition play their rôle here as in their
"ornamenting" and everything else they do. By the Abipones "women are
appointed to go forward on swift steeds to dig the grave, and _honor_
the funeral with lamentations." (Dobrizhoffer II., 267.) During the
ceremony of making a skeleton of a body the Patagonians, as Falkner
informs us (119), indulge in singing in a mournful tone of voice, and
striking the ground, to _frighten away_ the Valichus or Evil Beings.
Some of the Indians also visit the relatives of the dead, indulging in
antics which show that the whole thing is done for effect and pastime.
"During this visit of condolence," Falkner continues,

     "they cry, howl, and sing, in the most dismal manner;
     straining out tears, and pricking their arms and thighs with
     sharp thorns, to make them bleed. For this _show of grief_
     they are _paid_ with glass beads," etc.

The Rev. W. Ellis writes that the Tahitians, when someone had died,
"not only wailed in the loudest and most affecting tone, but tore
their hair, rent their garments, and cut themselves with shark's teeth
or knives in a most shocking manner." That this was less an expression
of genuine grief than a result of the barbarous love of excitement,
follows from what he adds: that in a milder form, this loud wailing
and cutting with shark's teeth was "an expression of joy as well as of
grief." (_Pol. Res_., I., 527.) The same writer relates in his book on
Hawaii (148) that when a chief or king died on that island,

     "the people ran to and fro without their clothes,
     appearing and acting more like demons than human
     beings; every vice was practised and almost every
     species of crime perpetrated."

J.T. Irving tells a characteristic story (226-27) of an Indian girl
whom he found one day lying on a grave singing a song "so despairing
that it seemed to well out from a broken heart." A half-breed friend,
who thoroughly understood the native customs, marred his illusion by
informing him that he had heard the girl say to her mother that as she
had nothing else to do, she believed she would go and take a bawl over
her brother's grave. The brother had been dead five years!

The whole question of aboriginal mourning is patly summed up in a
witty remark made by James Adair more than a century ago (1775). He
has seen Choctaw mourners, he declares (187), "pour out tears like
fountains of water; but after thus tiring themselves they might with
perfect propriety have asked themselves, '_ And who is dead?_'"


Instructive, from several points of view, is an incident related by
McLean (I., 254-55): A carrier Indian having been killed, his widow
threw herself on the body, shrieking and tearing her hair. The other
females "evinced all the external symptoms of extreme grief, chanting
the death-song in a most lugubrious tone, the tears streaming down
their cheeks, and beating their breasts;" yet as soon as the rites
were ended, these women "were seen as gay and cheerful as if they had
returned from a wedding." The widow alone remained, being "obliged by
custom" to mourn day and night.

     "The bodies were formerly burned; the relatives of the
     deceased, as well as those of the widow, being present, all
     armed; a funeral pile was erected, and the body placed upon
     it. The widow then set fire to the pile, and was compelled
     to stand by it, anointing her breast with the fat that oozed
     from the body, until the heat became insupportable; when the
     wretched creature, however, attempted to draw back, she was
     thrust forward by her husband's relatives at the point of
     their spears, and forced to endure the dreadful torture
     until either the body was reduced to ashes, or she herself
     almost scorched to death. Her relatives were present merely
     to preserve her life; when no longer able to stand they
     dragged her away, and this intervention often led to bloody

Obviously the compulsory mourning enforced in McLean's day was simply
a mild survival of this former torture, which, in turn, was a survival
of the still earlier practice of actually burning the widows alive, or
otherwise killing them, which used to prevail in various parts of the
world, as in India, among some Chinese aboriginal tribes, the old
Germans, the Thracians and Scythians, some of the Greeks, the
Lithuanians, the Basutos, the natives of Congo and other African
countries, the inhabitants of New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, New
Hebrides, Fiji Islands, the Crees, Comanches, Caribs, and various
other Indian tribes in California, Darien, Peru, etc.[126]

Some writers have advanced the opinion that jealousy prompted the men
to compel their wives to follow them into death. But the most widely
accepted opinion is that expressed long ago by St. Boniface when he
declared regarding the Wends that

     "they _preserve their conjugal love_ with such ardent zeal
     that the wife refuses to survive her husband; and _she_ is
     especially admired among women who takes her own life in
     order to be burnt on the same pile with her master."

This view is the fourth of the mistakes I have undertaken to demolish
in this chapter.

In the monumental work of Ploss and Bartels (II., 514), the opinion is
advanced that the custom of slaughtering widows on the death of their
husbands is the result of the grossly materialistic view the races in
question hold in regard to a future world. It is supposed that a
warrior will reappear with all his physical attributes and wants; for
which reason he is arranged in his best clothes, his weapons are
placed by his side, and often animals and slaves are slaughtered to be
useful to him in his new existence. His principal servant and provider
of home comforts, however, is his wife, wherefore she, too, is
expected to follow him.

This, no doubt, is the truth about widow-burning; but it is not the
whole truth. To comprehend all the horrors of the situation we must
realize clearly that it was the fiendish selfishness of the men,
extending even beyond death, which thus subjected their wives to a
cruel death, and that the widows, on their part, did not follow them
because of the promptings of affection, but either under physical
compulsion or in consequence of a systematic course of moral
reprobation and social persecution which made death preferable to
life. In Peru, for instance, where widows were not killed against
their will, but were allowed to choose between widowhood and being
buried alive,

     "the wife or servant who preferred life to the act of
     martyrdom, which was to attest their fidelity, was an
     object of general contempt, and devoted or doomed to a
     life worse than death."

The consequence of this was that

     "generally the wives and servants offered themselves
     voluntarily, and there are even instances of wives who
     preferred suicide to prove their conjugal devotion when
     they were prevented from descending to the grave with
     the body of their consort." (Rivero and Tschudi, 186.)

Usually, too, superstition was called to aid to make the widows
docile. In Fiji, for instance, to quote Westermarck's summing up (125)
of several authorities, widows

     "were either buried alive or strangled, often at their
     own desire, because they believed that in this way
     alone could they reach the realms of bliss, and that
     she who met her death with the greatest devotedness
     would become the favorite wife in the abode of spirits.
     On the other hand, a widow who did not permit herself
     to be killed was considered an adulteress."

To realize vividly how far widow-burning is from being an act of
voluntary wifely devotion one must read Abbé Dubois's account of the
matter (I., chap. _21_). He explains that, however chaste and devoted
a wife may have been during her husband's life, she is treated worse
than the lowest outcast if she wants to survive him. By a "voluntary"
death, on the contrary, she becomes "an illustrious victim of conjugal
attachment," and is "considered in the light of a deity." On the way
to the funeral pyre the accompanying multitude stretch out their hands
toward her in token of admiration. They behold her as already
translated into the paradise of Vishnu and seem to envy her happy lot.
The women run up to her to receive her blessing, and she knows that
afterward crowds of votaries will daily frequent her shrine. The
Brahmans compliment her on her heroism. (Sometimes drugs are
administered to stifle her fears.) She knows, too, that it is useless
to falter at the last moment, as a change of heart would be an eternal
disgrace, not only to herself but to her relatives, who, therefore,
stand around with sabres and rifles to _intimidate_ her. In short,
with satanic ingenuity, every possible appeal is made to her family
pride, vanity, longing for future bliss and divine honors after life,
enforced by the knowledge that if she lives earth will be a hell to
her, so that refusal is next to impossible. And this is the
much-vaunted "conjugal affection and fidelity" of Hindoo widows!


The practice of "voluntary" widow-burning is, as the foregoing shows,
about as convincing proof of wifely devotion as the presence of an ox
in the butcher's stall is proof of his gastronomic devotion to man. In
reality it is, as I have said, simply the most diabolical aspect of
man's aboriginal disposition to look on woman as made solely for his
own comfort and pleasure, here and hereafter. Now it is very
instructive to note that whenever there is a story of conjugal
devotion in Oriental or ancient classical literature it is nearly
always inspired by the same spirit--the idea that the woman, as an
inferior being, should subject herself to any amount of suffering if
she can thereby save her sacred lord and master the slightest pang.
For instance, an old Arabic writer (Kamil Mobarrad, p. 529) relates
how a devoted wife whose husband was condemned to death disfigured her
beautiful face in order to let him die with the consoling feeling that
she would not marry again. The current notion that such stories are
proof of conjugal devotion is the fifth of the mistakes to be
corrected in this chapter. These stories were written by men, selfish
men, who intended them as lessons to indicate to the women what was
expected of them. Were it otherwise, why should not the men, too, be
represented, at least occasionally, as devoted and self-sacrificing?
Hector is tender to Andromache, and in the Sanscrit drama, _Kanisika's
Wrath,_ the King and the Queen contend with one another as to who
shall be the victim of that wrath; but these are the only instances of
the kind that occur to me. This interesting question will be further
considered in the chapters on India and Greece, where corroborative
stories will be quoted. Here I wish only to emphasize again the need
of caution and suspicion in interpreting the evidence relating to the
human feelings.


So much for the feminine aspect of conjugal devotion. In regard to the
masculine aspect something must be added to what was said in preceding
pages (307-10). We saw there that primitive man desires wives chiefly
as drudges and concubines. It was also indicated briefly that wives
are valued as mothers of daughters who can be sold to suitors. As a
rule, sons are more desired than daughters, as they increase a man's
power and authority, and because they alone can keep up the
superstitious rites which are deemed necessary for the salvation of
the father's selfish old soul. Now the non-existence or extreme rarity
of conjugal attachment--not to speak of affection--is painfully
indicated by the circumstance that wives were, among many races,
valued (apart from grossly utilitarian and sensual motives) as mothers
only, and that the men had a right, of which they commonly availed
themselves, of repudiating a wife if she proved barren. On the lower
Congo, says Dupont (96), a wife is not respected unless she has at
least three children. Among the Somali, barren women are dieted and
dosed, and if that proves unavailing they are usually chased away.
(Paulitschke, _B.E.A.S_., 30.) If a Greenlander's wife did not bear
him any children he generally took another one. (Cranz, I., 147.)
Among the Mexican Aztecs divorce, even from a concubine, was not easy;
but in case of barrenness even the principal wife could be repudiated.
(Bancroft, II., 263-65.) The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Germans, the
Chinese and Japanese, could divorce a wife on account of barrenness.
For a Hindoo the laws of Manu indicate that "a barren wife may be
dispensed with in the eighth year; one whose children all die, in the
tenth; one who bears only daughters, in the eleventh." The tragic
import of such bare statements is hardly realized until we come upon
particular instances like those related by the Indian authoress
Ramabai (15):

     "Of the four wives of a certain prince, the eldest had
     borne him two sons; she was therefore his favorite, and
     her face beamed with happiness.... But oh! what
     contrast to this happiness was presented in the
     apartments of the childless three. Their faces were sad
     and careworn; there seemed no hope for them in this
     world, since their lord was displeased with them on
     account of their misfortune."

"A lady friend of mine in Calcutta told me that her husband had warned
her not to give birth to a girl, the first time, or he would never see
her face again." Another woman

     "had been notified by her husband that if she persisted
     in bearing daughters she should be superseded by
     another wife, have coarse clothes to wear, scanty food
     to eat," etc.[127]


The conclusion to be drawn from the testimony collected in this
chapter is that genuine conjugal love--the affection for a wife _for
her own sake_--is, like romantic love, a product chiefly of modern

I say chiefly, because I am convinced that conjugal love was known
sooner than romantic love, and for a very simple reason. Among those
of the lower races where the sexes were not separated in youth, a
license prevailed which led to shallow, premature, temporary alliances
that precluded all idea of genuine affection, even had these folk been
capable of such a sentiment; while among those tribes and peoples that
practised the custom of separating the boys and girls from the
earliest age, and not allowing them to become acquainted till after
marriage, the growth of real, prematrimonial affection was, of course,
equally impossible. In married life this was different. Living
together for years, having a common interest in their children,
sharing the same joys and sorrows, husband and wife would learn the
rudiments of sympathy, and in happy cases there would be an
opportunity for the growth of liking, attachment, fondness, or even,
in exceptional instances, of affection. I cannot sufficiently
emphasize the fact that my theory is psychological or cultural, not
chronological. The fact that a man lives in the year 1900 makes it no
more self-evident that he should be capable of sexual affection than
the fact that a man lived seven centuries before Christ makes it
self-evident that he could not love affectionately. Hector and
Andromache existed only in the brain of Homer, who was in many
respects thousands of years ahead of his contemporaries. Whether such
a couple could really have existed at that time among the Trojans, or
the Greeks, we do not know, but in any case it would have been an
exception, proving the rule by the painful contrast of the surrounding

Exceptions may possibly occur among the lower races, through happy
combinations of circumstances. C.C. Jones describes (69) a picture of
conjugal devotion among Cherokee Indians:

     "By the side of the aged Mico Tomo-chi-chi, as, thin
     and weak, he lies upon his blanket, hourly expecting
     the summons of the pale-king, we see the sorrowing form
     of his old wife, Scenauki, bending over and fanning him
     with a bunch of feathers."

In his work on the Indians of California (271), Powers writes:

     "An aged Achomauri lost his wife, to whom he had been
     married probably half a century, and he tarred his face
     in mourning for her as though he were a woman--_an act
     totally unprecedented_, and regarded by the Indians as
     evincing an _extraordinary_ affection."

St. John relates the following incident in his book on Borneo:

     "Ijan, a Balau chief, was bathing with his wife in the
     Lingga River, a place notorious for man-eating
     alligators, when Indra Lela, passing in a boat,
     remarked, 'I have just seen a very large animal
     swimming up the stream.' Upon hearing this, Ijan told
     his wife to go up the steps and he would follow. She
     got safely up, but he, stopping to wash his feet, was
     seized by the alligator, dragged into the middle of the
     stream, and disappeared from view. His wife, hearing a
     cry, turned round, and seeing her husband's fate,
     sprang into the river, shrieking 'Take me also,' and
     dived down at the spot where she had seen the alligator
     sink with his prey. No persuasion could induce her to
     come out of the water; she swam about, diving in all
     the places most dreaded from being a resort of
     ferocious reptiles, seeking to die with her husband; at
     last her friends came down and forcibly removed her to
     their house."

These stories certainly imply conjugal attachment, but is there any
indication in them of affection? The Cherokee squaw mourns the
impending death of her husband, which is a selfish feeling. The
Californian, similarly, laments the loss of his spouse. The only thing
he does is to "tar his face in mourning," and even this is regarded by
the other Indians as "extraordinary" and "unprecedented." As for the
woman in the third story, it is to be noted that her act is one of
selfish despair, not of self-sacrifice for her husband's sake. We
shall see in later chapters that women of her grade abandon themselves
to suicidal impulses, not only where there is occasion for real
distress, but often on the most trivial pretexts. A few days later, in
all probability, that same woman would have been ready to marry
another man. There is no evidence of altruistic action--action for
another's benefit--in any of these incidents, and altruism is the only
test of genuine affection as distinguished from mere liking,
attachment, and fondness, which, as was explained in the chapter on
Affection, are the products of selfishness, more or less disguised. If
this distinction had been borne in mind a vast amount of confusion
could have been avoided in works of exploration and the
anthropological treatises based on them. Westermarck, for instance,
cites on page 357 a number of authors who asserted that sexual
affection, or even the appearance of it, was unknown to the Hovas of
Madagascar, the Gold Coast, and Winnabah natives, the Kabyles, the
Beni-Amer, the Chittagong Hill Tribes, the Ponape islanders, the
Eskimo, the Kutchin, the Iroquois, and North American Indians in
general; while on the next pages he cites approvingly authors who
fancied they had discovered sexual affection among tribes some of whom
(Australians, Andamanese, Bushmans) are far below the peoples just
mentioned. The cause of this discrepancy lies not in these races
themselves, but in the inaccurate use of words, and the different
standards of the writers, some accepting the rubbing of noses or other
sexual caresses as evidence of "affection," while others take any acts
indicating fondness, attachment, or a suicidal impulse as signs of it.
In a recent work by Tyrrell (165), I find it stated that the Eskimo
marriage is "purely a love union;" and in reading on I discover that
the author's idea of a "love union" is the absence of a marriage
ceremony! Yet I have no doubt that Tyrrell will be cited hereafter as
evidence that love unions are common among the Eskimos. So, again,
when Lumholtz writes (213) that an Australian woman

     "may happen to change husbands many times in her life, but
     sometimes, despite the fact that her consent is not asked,
     she gets the one she loves--for a black woman can love too"

--we are left entirely in the dark as to what kind of "love" is
meant--sensual or sentimental, liking, attachment, fondness, or real
affection. Surely it is time to put an end to such confusion, at least
in scientific treatises, and to acquire in psychological discussions
the precision which we always employ in describing the simplest weeds
or insects.

Morgan, the great authority on the Iroquois--the most intelligent of
North American Indians--lived long enough among them to realize
vaguely that there must be a difference between sexual attachment
before and after marriage, and that the latter is an earlier
phenomenon in human evolution. After declaring that among the Indians
"marriage was not founded on the affections ... but was regulated
exclusively as a matter of physical necessity," he goes on to say:

     "Affection after marriage would naturally spring up
     between the parties from association, from habit, and
     from mutual dependence; but of that marvellous passion
     which originates in a higher development of the
     passions of the human heart, and is founded upon a
     cultivation of the affections between the sexes, they
     were entirely ignorant. In their temperaments they were
     below this passion in its simplest forms."

He is no doubt right in declaring that the Indians before marriage
were "in their temperaments" below affectionate love "in its simplest
forms"; but, that being so, it is difficult to see how they could have
acquired real affection after marriage. As a matter of fact we know
that they treated their wives with a selfishness which is entirely
incompatible with true affection. The Rev. Peter Jones, moreover, an
Indian himself, tells us in his book on the Ojibwas:

     "I have scarcely ever seen anything like social
     intercourse between husband and wife, and it is
     remarkable that the women say little in presence of the

Obviously, at the beginning of the passage quoted, Morgan should have
used the word attachment in place of affection. Bulmer (by accident, I
suspect) uses the right word when he says (Brough Smyth, 77) that
Australians, notwithstanding their brutal forms of marriage, often
"get much attached to each other." At the same time it is easy to show
that, if not among Australians or Indians, at any rate with such a
people as the ancient Greeks, conjugal affection may have existed
while romantic love was still impossible. The Greeks looked down on
their women as inferior beings. Now one can feel affection--conjugal
or friendly--toward an inferior, but one cannot feel adoration--and
adoration is absolutely essential to romantic love. Before romantic
love could be born it was necessary that women should not only be
respected as equal to man but worshipped as his superior. This was not
done by any of the lower or ancient races; hence romantic love is a
peculiarly modern sentiment, later than any other form of human


When Shakspere wrote that "The course of true love never did run
smooth" he had in mind individual cases of courtship. But what is true
of individuals also applies to the story of love itself. For many
thousands of years savagery and barbarism "proved an unrelenting foe
to love," and it was with almost diabolical ingenuity that obstacles
to its birth and growth were maintained and multiplied. It was
crushed, balked, discountenanced, antagonized, discredited,
disheartened so persistently that the wonder is not that there should
be so little true love even at the present day, but that there is any
at all. A whole volume might be written on the Obstacles to Love; my
original plan for this book included a long chapter on this matter;
but partly to avoid repetition, partly to save space, I will condense
my material to a few pages, considering briefly the following
obstacles: I. Ignorance and stupidity. II. Coarseness and obscenity.
III. War. IV. Cruelty. V. Masculine selfishness. VI. Contempt for
women. VII. Capture and sale of brides. VIII. Infant marriages. IX.
Prevention of free choice. X. Separation of the sexes. XI. Sexual
taboos. XII. Race aversion. XIII. Multiplicity of languages. XIV.
Social barriers. XV. Religious prejudice.


Intelligence alone does not imply a capacity for romantic love. Dogs
are the most intelligent of all animals, but they know nothing of
love; the most intelligent nations of antiquity--the Greeks, Romans
and Hebrews--were strangers to this feeling; and in our times we have
seen that such intelligent persons as Tolstoi, Zola, Groncourt,
Flaubert have been confessedly unable to experience real love such as
Turgenieff held up to them. On the other hand, there can be no genuine
love without intelligence. It is true that maternal love exists among
the lowly, but that is an instinct developed by natural selection,
because without it the race could not have persisted. Conjugal
attachment also was, as we have seen, necessary for the preservation
of the race; whereas romantic love is not necessary for the
preservation of the race, but is merely a means for its improvement;
wherefore it developed slowly, keeping pace with the growth of the
intellectual powers of discrimination, the gradual refinement of the
emotions, and the removal of diverse obstacles created by selfishness,
coarseness, foolish taboos, and prejudices. A savage lives entirely in
his senses, hence sensual love is the only kind he can know. His love
is as coarse and simple as his music, which is little more than a
monotonous rhythmic noise. Just as a man, unless he has musical
culture, cannot understand a Schumann symphony, so, unless he has
intellectual culture, he cannot love a woman as Schumann loved Clara

Stupid persons, men and women with blunt intellects, also have blunt
feelings, excepting those of a criminal, vengeful kind. Savages have
keener senses than we have, but their intellect and emotions are blunt
and untrained. An Australian cannot count above ten, and Galton says
(132) that Damaras in counting "puzzle very much after five, because
no spare hand remains to grasp and secure the fingers that are
required for units." Spix and Martins (384) found it very difficult to
get any information from the Brazilian (Coroado) because "scarcely has
one begun to question him about his language when he gets impatient,
complains of headache, and shows that he cannot endure this
effort"--for he is used to living entirely in and for his senses.
Fancy such savages writing or reading a book like _The Reveries of a
Bachelor_ and you will understand why stupidity is an obstacle to
love, and realize the unspeakable folly of the notion that love is
always and everywhere the same. The savage has no imagination, and
imagination is the organ of romantic love; without it there can be no
sympathy, and without sympathy there can be no love.


Kissing and other caresses are, as we have seen, practices unknown to
savages. Their nerves being too coarse to appreciate even the more
refined forms of sensualism, it follows of necessity that they are too
coarse to experience the subtle manifestations of imaginative
sentimental love. Their national addiction to obscene practices and
conversation proves an insuperable obstacle to the growth of refined
sexual feelings. Details given in later chapters will show that what
Turner says of the Samoans, "From their childhood their ears are
familiar with the most obscene conversation;" and what the Rev. George
Taplan writes of the "immodest and lewd" dances of the Australians,
applies to the lower races in general. The history of love is, indeed,
epitomized in the evolution of the dance from its aboriginal obscenity
and licentiousness to its present function as chiefly a means of
bringing young people together and providing innocent opportunities
for courtship; two extremes differing as widely as the coarse drum
accompaniment of a primitive dance from the sentimental melodies,
soulful harmonies, and exquisite orchestral colors of a Strauss waltz.
A remark made by Taine on Burns suggests how even acquired coarseness
in a mind naturally refined may crush the capacity for true love:

     "He had enjoyed too much.... Debauch had all but
     spoiled his fine imagination, which had before been
     'the chief source of his happiness'; and he confessed
     that, instead of tender reveries, he had now nothing
     but sensual desires."

The poets have done much to confuse the public mind in this matter by
their fanciful and impossible pastoral lovers. The remark made in my
first book, that "only an educated mind can feel romantic love," led
one of its reviewers to remark, half indignantly, half mournfully,
"There goes the pastoral poetry of the world at a single stroke of the
pen." Well, let it go. I am quite sure that if these poetic dreamers
had ever come across a shepherdess in real life--dirty, unkempt,
ignorant, coarse, immoral--they would themselves have made haste to
disavow their heroines and seek less malodorous "maidens" for
embodiments of their exalted fancies of love[128]. Richard Wagner was
promptly disillusioned when he came across some of those modern
shepherdesses, the Swiss dairy-maids. "There are magnificent women
here in the Oberland," he wrote to a friend, "but only so to the eye;
they are all tainted with rabid vulgarity."


Herbert Spencer has devoted some eloquent pages[129] to showing that
along with chronic militancy there goes a brutal treatment of women,
whereas industrial tribes are likely to treat their wives and
daughters well. To militancy is due the disregard of women's claims
shown in stealing or buying them, the inequality of status between the
sexes entailed by polygamy; the use of women as laboring slaves, the
life-and-death power over wife and child. To which we may add that war
proves an obstacle to love, by fostering cruelty and smothering
sympathy, and all the other tender feelings; by giving the coarsest
masculine qualities of aggressiveness and brute prowess the aspect of
cardinal virtues and causing the feminine virtues of gentleness,
mercy, kindness, to be despised, and women themselves to be esteemed
only in so far as they appropriate masculine qualities; and by
fostering rape and licentiousness in general. When Plutarch wrote that
"the most warlike nations are the most addicted to love," he meant, of
course, lust. In wars of the past no incentive to brutal courage
proved so powerful as the promise that the soldiers might have the
women of captured cities. "Plunder if you succeed, and paradise if you
fall. Female captives in the one case, celestial houris in the
other"--such was, according to Burckhardt, the promise to their men
given by Wahabi chiefs on the eve of battle.


Love depends on sympathy, and sympathy is incompatible with cruelty.
It has been maintained that the notorious cruelty of the lower and
war-like races is manifested only toward enemies; but this is an
error. Some of the instances cited under "Sentimental Murder" and
"Sympathy" show how often superstitious and utilitarian considerations
smother all the family feelings. Three or four more illustrations may
be added here. Burton says of the East Africans, that "when childhood
is past, the father and son become natural enemies, after the manner
of wild beasts." The Bedouins are not compelled by law or custom to
support their aged parents, and Burckhardt (156) came across such men
whom their sons would have allowed to perish. Among the Somals it
frequently occurs that an old father is simply driven away and exposed
to distress and starvation. Nay, incredible cases are related of
fathers being sold as slaves, or killed. The African missionary,
Moffat, one day came across an old woman who had been left to die
within an enclosure. He asked her why she had been thus deserted, and
she replied:

     "I am old, you see, and no longer able to serve them [her
     grown children]. When they kill game, I am too feeble to aid
     in carrying home the flesh; I am incapable of gathering wood
     to make fire, and I cannot carry their children on my back
     as I used to do."


The South American Chiquitos, as Dobrizhoffer informs us (II., 264),
used to kill the wife of a sick man, believing her to be the cause of
his illness, and fancying that his recovery would follow her
disappearance. Fijians have been known to kill and eat their wives,
when they had no other use for them. Carl Bock (275) says of the
Malays of Sumatra, that the men are extremely indolent and make the
women their beasts of burden (as the lower races do in general).

"I have," he says,

     "continually met a file of women carrying loads of rice or
     coffee on their heads, while the men would follow, lazily
     lounging along, with a long stick in their hands, like
     shepherds driving a flock of sheep.... I have seen a man go
     into his house, where his wife was lying asleep on the bed,
     rudely awake her, and order her to lie on the floor, while
     he made himself comfortable on the cushions."

But I need not add in this place any further instances to the hundreds
given in other parts of this volume, revealing uncivilized man's
disposition to regard woman as made for his convenience, both in this
world and the next. Nor is it necessary to add that such an attitude
is an insuperable obstacle to love, which in its essence is


As late as the sixth century the Christian Provincial Council of Macon
debated the question whether women have souls. I know of no early
people, savage, barbarous, semi-civilized or civilized--from the
Australian to the Greek--in which the men did not look down on the
women as inferior beings. Now contempt is the exact opposite of
adoration, and where it prevails there can of course be no romantic


In the Homeric poems we read much about young women who were captured
and forced to become the concubines of the men who had slain their
fathers, brothers, and husbands. Other brides are referred to as
[Greek: alphesiboiai], wooed with rich presents, literally "bringing
in oxen." Among other ancient nations--Assyrians, Hebrews,
Babylonians, Chaldeans, etc., brides had to be bought with property or
its equivalent in service (as in the case of Jacob and Rachel).
Serving for a bride until the parents feel repaid for their selfish
trouble in bringing her up, also prevails among savages as low as the
African Bushman and the Fuegian Indians, and is not therefore, as
Herbert Spencer holds, a higher or later form of "courtship" than
capture or purchase. But it is less common than purchase, which has
been a universal custom. "All over the earth," says Letourneau (137),

     "among all races and at all times, wherever history gives us
     information, we find well-authenticated examples of marriage
     by purchase, which allows us to assert that during the
     middle period of civilization, the right of parents over
     their children, and especially over their daughters,
     included in all countries the privilege of selling them."

In Australia a knife or a glass bottle has been held sufficient
compensation for a wife. A Tartar parent will sell his daughter for a
certain number of sheep, horses, oxen, or pounds of butter; and so on
in innumerable regions. As an obstacle to free choice and love unions,
nothing more effective could be devised; for what Burckhardt writes
(_B. and W._, I., 278) of the Egyptian peasant girls has a general
application. They are, he says, "sold in matrimony by their fathers
_to the highest bidders_; a circumstance that frequently causes the
most mean and unfeeling transactions."

In his collection of Esthonian folk-songs Neus has a poem which
pathetically pictures the fate of a bartered bride. A girl going to
the field to cut flax meets a young man who informs her bluntly that
she belongs to him, as he has bought her. "And who undertook to sell
me?" she asks. "Your father and mother, your sister and brother," he
replies, adding frankly that he won the father's favor with a present
of a horse, the mother's with a cow, the sister's with a bracelet, the
brother's with an ox. Then the unwilling bride lifts her voice and
curses the family: "May the father's horse rot under him; may the
mother's cow yield blood instead of milk!" Hundreds of millions of
bartered brides have borne their fate more meekly. It is needless to
add that what has been said here applies _a fortiori_ to captured


Of the diabolical habit of forcing girls into marriage before they had
reached the age of puberty and its wide prevalence I have already
spoken (293), and reference will be made to it in many of the pages
following this. Here I may, therefore, confine myself to a few details
relating to one country, by way of showing vividly what a deadly
obstacle to courtship, free choice, love, and every tender and
merciful feeling, this cruel custom forms. Among all classes and
castes of Hindoos it has been customary from time immemorial to unite
boys of eight; seven, even six years, to girls still younger. It is
even prescribed by the laws of Manu that a man of twenty-four should
marry a girl of eight. Old Sanscrit verses have been found declaring
that "the mother, father, and oldest brother of a girl shall all be
damned if they allow her to reach maturity without being married;" and
the girl herself, in such a case, is cast out into the lowest class,
too low for anyone to marry her.[131] In some cases marriage means
merely engagement, the bride remaining at home with her parents, who
do not part with her till some years later. Often, however, the
husband takes immediate possession of his child-wife, and the
consequences are horrible. Of 205 cases reported in a Bengal
Medico-Legal Report, 5 ended fatally, 38 were crippled, and the
general effect of such cruelty is pathetically touched on by Mme.
Ryder, who found it impossible to describe the anguish she felt when
she saw these half-developed females, with their expression of
hopeless suffering, their skeleton arms and legs, marching behind
their husbands at the prescribed distance, with never a smile on their

It would be a mistake to seek a partial excuse for this inhumanity in
the early maturing effects of a warm climate. Mme. Ryder expressly
states that a Hindoo girl of ten, instead of seeming older than a
European girl of that age, resembles our children at five or six


One of the unfortunate consequences of Darwin's theory of sexual
selection was that it made him assume that

     "in utterly barbarous tribes the women have more power in
     choosing, rejecting, and tempting their lovers, or of
     afterward exchanging their husbands than might have been
     expected. As this is a point of importance,"

he adds, "I will give in detail such evidence as I have been able to
collect;" which he proceeds to do. This "evidence in detail" consists
of three cases in Africa, five among American Indians, and a few
others among Fijians, Kalmucks, Malayans, and the Korarks of
Northeastern Asia. Having referred to these twelve cases, he proceeds
with his argument, utterly ignoring the twelve hundred facts that
oppose his assumption--a proceeding so unlike his usual candid habit
of stating the difficulties confronting him, that this circumstance
alone indicates how shaky he felt in regard to this point. Moreover,
even the few instances he cites fail to bear out his doctrine. It is
incomprehensible to me how he could claim the Kaffirs for his side.
Though these Africans "buy their wives, and girls are severely beaten
by their fathers if they will not accept a chosen husband, it is
nevertheless manifest," Darwin writes, "from many facts given by the
Rev. Mr. Shooter, that they have considerable power of choice. Thus,
very ugly, though rich men, have been known to fail in getting wives."
What Shooter really does (50) is to relate the case of a man so
ill-favored that he had never been able to get a wife till he offered
a big sum to a chief for one of his wards. She refused to go, but "her
arms were bound and she was delivered like a captive. Later she
escaped and claimed the protection of a rival chief."

In other words, this man did _not_ fail to get a wife, and the girl
had _no_ choice. Darwin ignores the rest of Shooter's narrative
(55-58), which shows that while perhaps as a rule moral persuasion is
first tried before physical violence is used, the girl in any case is
obliged to take the man chosen for her. The man is highly praised in
her presence, and if she still remains obstinate she has to
"encounter the wrath of her enraged father ... the furious parent will
hear nothing--go with her husband she must--if she return she shall be
slain." Even if she elopes with another man she "may be forcibly
brought back and sent to the one chosen by her father," and only by
the utmost perseverance can she escape his tyranny. Leslie (whom
Darwin cites) is therefore wrong when he says "it is a mistake to
imagine that a girl is sold by her father in the same manner, and with
the same authority, with which he would dispose of a cow." Those who
knew the Kaffirs most intimately agree with Shooter; the Rev. W.C.
Holden, _e.g._, who writes in his elaborate work, _The Past and Future
of the Kaffir Races_ (189-211) that "it is common for the youngest,
the healthiest, ... the handsomest girls to be sold to old men who
perhaps have already half-a-dozen concubines," and whom the work of
these wives has made rich enough to buy another. A girl is in many
instances "compelled by torture to accept the man she hates. The whole
is as purely a business transaction as the bartering of an ox or
buying a horse." From Dugmore's _Laws and Customs_ he cites the
following: "It sometimes occurs that the entreaties of the daughter
prevail over the avarice of the father; but such cases, the Kaffirs
admit, are rare ... the highest bidder usually gains the prize."
Holden adds that when a girl is obstreperous "they seize her by main
strength, and drag her on the ground, as I have repeatedly seen;" and
in his chapter on polygamy he gives the most harrowing details of the
various cruelties practised on the poor girls who do not wish to be
sold like cows.

That Kaffir girls "have been known to propose to a man," as Darwin
says, does not indicate that they have a choice, any more than the
fact that they "not rarely run away with a favored lover." They might
propose to a hundred men and not have their choice; and as for the
elopement, that in itself shows they have no liberty of choice; for if
they had they would not be obliged to run away. Finally, how could
Darwin reconcile his attitude with the remark of C. Hamilton, cited by
himself, that with the Kaffirs "the chiefs generally have the pick of
the women for many miles round, and are most persevering in
establishing or confirming their privilege"?

I have discussed this case "in detail" in order to show to what
desperate straits a hopeless theory may reduce a great thinker. To
suppose that in this "utterly barbarous tribe" the looks of the race
can be gradually improved by the women accepting only those males who
"excite or charm them most" is simply grotesque. Nor is Darwin much
happier with his other cases. When he wrote that "Among the degraded
Bushmen of Africa" (citing Burchell) "'when a girl has grown up to
womanhood without having been betrothed, _which, however, does not
often happen_, her lover must gain her approbation as well as that of
her parents'"--the words I have italicized ought to have shown him
that this testimony was not for but against his theory. Burchell
himself tells us that Bushman girls "are most commonly betrothed" when
about seven years old, and become mothers at twelve, or even at ten.
To speak of choice in such cases, in any rational sense of the word,
would be farcical even if the girls were free to do as they please,
which they are not. With regard to the Fuegians, Darwin cites King and
Fitzroy to the effect that the Indian obtains the consent of the
parents by doing them some service, and then attempts to carry off the
girl; "but if she is unwilling, she hides herself in the woods until
her admirer is heartily tired of looking for her and gives up his
pursuit; _but this seldom happens_." If this passage means anything,
it means that it is customary for the parents to decide upon who is to
marry their daughters, and that, though she may frustrate the plan,
"this seldom happens." Darwin further informs us that "Hearne
describes how a woman in one of the tribes of Arctic America
repeatedly ran away from her husband and joined her lover." How much
this single instance proves in regard to woman's liberty of choice or
power to aid sexual selection, may be inferred from the statement by
the same "excellent observer" of Indian traits (as Darwin himself
calls him) that "it has ever been the custom among these people to
wrestle for any woman to whom they are attached; and, of course, the
strongest party always carries off the prize"--an assertion borne out
by Richardson (II., 24) and others. But if the strongest man "always
carries off the prize," where does woman's choice come in? Hearne adds
that "this custom prevails throughout all their tribes" (104). And
while the other Indian instances referred to by Darwin indicate that
in case of decided aversion a girl is not absolutely compelled, as
among the Kaffirs, to marry the man selected for her, the custom
nevertheless is for the parents to make the choice, as among most
Indians, North and South.

Whereas Darwin's claim that primitive women have "more power" to
decide their fate as regards marriage "than might have been expected,"
is comparatively modest, Westermarck goes so far as to declare that
these women "are not, _as a rule,_ married without having any voice of
their own in the matter." He feels compelled to this course because he
realizes that his theory that savages originally ornamented themselves
in order to make themselves attractive to the opposite sex
"presupposes of course that savage girls enjoy great liberty in the
choice of a mate." In the compilation of his evidence, unfortunately,
Westermarck is even less critical and reliable than Darwin. In
reference to the Bushmen, he follows Darwin's example in citing
Burchell, but leaves out the words "which, however, does not often
happen," which show that liberty of choice on the woman's part is not
the rule but a rare exception.[132] He also claims the Kaffirs,
though, as I have just shown, such a claim is preposterous. To the
evidence already cited on my side I may add Shooter's remarks (55),
that if there are several lovers the girl is asked to decide for
herself. "This, however, is merely formal," for if she chooses one who
is poor the father recommends to her the one of whom he calculated to
get the most cattle, and that settles the matter. Not even the widows
are allowed the liberty of choice, for, as Shooter further informs us
(86), "when a man dies those wives who have not left the kraal remain
with the eldest son. If they wish to marry again, they must go to one
of their late husband's brothers." Among the African women "who have
no difficulty in getting the husbands whom they may desire,"
Westermarck mentions the Ashantees, on the authority of Beecham (125).
On consulting that page of Beecham I find that he does indeed declare
that "no Ashantee compels his daughter to become the wife of one she
dislikes;" but this is a very different thing from saying that she can
choose the man she may desire. "In the affair of courtship," writes
Beecham, "the wishes of the female are but little consulted; the
business being chiefly settled between the suitor and her parents."
And in the same page he adds that "it is not infrequently the case
that infants are married to each other ... and infants are also
frequently wedded to adults, and even to elderly men," while it is
also customary "to contract for a child before it is born." The same
destructive criticism might be applied to other negroes of Western
Africa whom both Darwin and Westermarck claim on the very dubious
evidence of Reade.[133]

Among other peoples to whom Westermarck looks for support of his
argument are the Fijians, Tongans, and natives of New Britain, Java,
and Sumatra. He claims the Fijians on the peculiar ground (the italics
are mine) that among them "forced marriages are _comparatively_ rare
among the _higher classes_." That may be; but are not the higher
classes a small minority? And do not all classes indulge in the habits
of infant betrothal and of appropriating women by violence without
consulting their wishes? Regarding the Tongans, Westermarck cites the
supposition of Mariner that perhaps two-thirds of the girls had
married with their own free consent; which does not agree with the
observations of Vason (144), who spent four years among them:

     "As the choice of a husband is not in the power of the
     daughters but he is provided by the discretion of the
     parents, an instance of refusal on the part of the daughter
     is unknown in Tonga."

He adds that this is not deemed a hardship there, where divorce and
unchastity are so general.

     "In the New Britain Group, according to Mr. Romilly, after
     the man has worked for years to pay for his wife, and is
     finally in a position to take her to his house, she may
     refuse to go, and _he cannot claim back from the parents the
     large sums he has paid_ them in yams, cocoa-nuts, and

This Westermarck guilelessly accepts as proof of the liberty of choice
on the girl's part, missing the very philosophy of the whole matter.
Why are girls not allowed in so many cases to choose their own
husbands? Because their selfish parents want to benefit by selling
them to the highest bidder. In the above case, on the contrary, as the
italics show, the selfish parents benefit by making the girl refuse to
go with that man, keeping her as a bait for another profitable suitor.
In all probability she refuses to go with him at the positive command
of her parents. What the real state of affairs is on the New Britain
Group we may gather from the revelations given in an article on the
marriage customs of the natives by the Rev. B. Danks in the _Journal
of the Anthropological Institute_ (1888, 290-93): In New Britain, he
says, "the marriage tie has much the appearance of a money tie." There
are instances of sham capture, when there is much laughter and fun;

     "but in many cases which came under my notice it was not a
     matter of form but painful earnestness." "It often happens
     that the young woman has a liking for another and none for
     the man who has purchased her. She may refuse to go to him.
     In that case her friends consider themselves disgraced by
     her conduct. She ought, according to their notions, to fall
     in with their arrangements with thankfulness and gladness of
     heart! They drag her along, beat her, kick and abuse her,
     and it has been my misfortune to see girls dragged past my
     house, struggling in vain to escape from their fate.
     Sometimes they have broken loose and then ran for the only
     place of refuge in all the country, the mission-house. I
     could render them no assistance until they had bounded up
     the steps of my veranda into our bedroom and hidden
     themselves under the bed, trembling for their lives. It has
     been my privilege and duty to stand between the infuriated
     brother or father, who has followed close upon the poor
     girl, spear in hand, vowing to put her to death for the
     disgrace she has brought upon them." "Liberty of choice,"


"In some parts of Java, much deference is paid to the bride's
inclinations," writes Westermarck. But Earl declares (58) that among
the Javanese "courtship is carried on entirely through the medium of
the parents of the young people, and any interference on the part of
the bride would be considered highly indecorous," And Raffles writes
(I., Ch. VII.) that in Java "marriages are invariably contracted, not
by the parties themselves, but by their parents or relations on their
behalf." Betrothals of children, too, are customary. Regarding the
Sumatrans, Westermarck cites Marsden to the effect that among the
Rejang a man may run away with a virgin without violating the laws,
provided he pays her parents for her afterward--which tells us little
about the girl's choice. But why does he ignore Marsden's full
account, a few pages farther on, of Sumatran marriages in general?
There are four kinds, one of which, he says, is a regular treaty
between the parties on a footing of equality; this is called marriage
by _semando_. In the _jujur_ a sum of money is given by one man to
another "as a consideration for the person of his daughter, whose
situation in this case differs not much from that of a slave to the
man she marries, and to his family." In other cases one virgin is
given in exchange for another, and in the marriage by _ambel anak_ the
father of a young man chooses a wife for him. Finally he shows that
the customs of Sumatrans do not favor courtship, the young men and
women being kept carefully apart.

At first sight Westermarck's chapter on the Liberty of Choice seems
rather imposing, as it consists of twenty-seven pages, while Darwin
devoted only two to the subject. In reality, however, Westermarck has
filled only eight pages with what he considers proofs of his theory,
and after scouring the whole world he has not succeeded in bringing
together thirty cases which stand the test of critical examination. I
grant him, though in several instances with suspicions, some American
Indian tribes, natives of Arorae, of the Society Islands, Micronesians
in general (?), Dyaks, Minabassers of Celebes, Burmese, Shans,
Chittagong Hill tribes, and a few other wild tribes of India, possibly
some aboriginal Chinese tribes, Ainos, Kamchadales, Jakuts, Ossetes,
Kalmucks, Aenezes, Touaregs, Shulis, Madis, the ancient Cathaei and
Lydians. My reasons for rejecting his other instances have already
been given in part, and most of the other cases will be disposed of in
the pages relating to Australians, New Zealanders, American Indians,
Hindoos, and Wild Tribes of India. In the chapter on Australia, after
commenting on Westermarck's preposterous attempt to include that race
in his list in the face of all the authorities, I shall explain also
why it is not likely that, as he maintains, still more primitive races
allowed their women greater freedom of choice than modern savages
enjoy in his opinion.

To become convinced that the women of the lower races do not "as a
rule" enjoy the liberty of choice, we need only contrast the meagre
results obtained by Darwin and Westermarck with the vast number of
races and tribes whose customs indicate that women are habitually
given in marriage without being consulted as to their wishes. Among
these customs are infant marriage, infant betrothal, capture,
purchase, marrying whole families of sisters, and the levirate. It is
true that some of these customs do not affect all members of the
tribes involved, but the very fact of their prevalence shows that the
idea of consulting a woman's preference does not enter into the heads
of the men, barring a few cases, where a young woman is so
obstreperous that she may at any rate succeed in escaping a hated
suitor, though even this (which is far from implying liberty of
choice) is altogether exceptional. We must not allow ourselves to be
deceived by appearances, as in the case of the Moors of Senegambia,
concerning whom Letourneau says (138) that a daughter has the right to
refuse the husband selected for her, on condition of remaining
unmarried; if she marries another, she becomes the slave of the man
first selected for her. Of the Christian Abyssinians, Combes and
Tamisier say (II., 106) that the girls are never "seriously"
consulted; and "at Sackatou a girl is usually consulted by her
parents, but only as a matter of form; she never refuses."
(Letourneau, 139.) The same may be said of China and Japan, where the
sacred duty of filial obedience is so ingrained in a girl's soul that
she would never dream of opposing her parents' wishes.

Of the horrible custom of marrying helpless girls before they are
mature in body or mind--often, indeed, before they have reached the
age of puberty--I have already spoken, instancing some Borneans,
Javanese, Egyptians, American Indians, Australians, Hottentots,
natives of Old Calabar, Hindoos; to which may be added some Arabs and
Persians, Syrians, Kurds, Turks, natives of Celebes, Madagascar,
Bechuanas, Basutos, and many other Africans, etc. As for those who
practise infant betrothal, Westermarck's own list includes Eskimos,
Chippewayans, Botocudos, Patagonians, Shoshones, Arawaks, Macusis,
Iroquois; Gold Coast negroes, Bushmen, Marutse, Bechuanas, Ashantees,
Australians; tribes of New Guinea, New Zealand, Tonga, Tahiti, and
many other islands of the South Sea; some tribes of the Malay
Archipelago; tribes of British India; all peoples of the Turkish
stock; Samoyedes and Tuski; Jews of Western Russia.

As regards capture, good authorities now hold that it was not a
universal practice in all parts of the world; yet it prevailed very
widely--for instance, among Aleutian Islanders, Ahts, Bonaks, Macas
Indians of Ecuador, all Carib tribes, some Brazilians, Mosquito
Indians, Fuegians; Bushmen, Bechuanas, Wakamba, and other Africans;
Australians, Tasmanians, Maoris, Fijians, natives of Samoa, Tukopia,
New Guinea, Indian Archipelago; wild tribes of India; Arabs, Tartars,
and other Central Asians; some Russians, Laplanders, Esthonians,
Finns, Greeks, Romans, Teutons, Scandinavians, Slavonians, etc. "The
list," says Westermarck (387), "might easily be enlarged." As for the
list of peoples among whom brides were sold--usually to the highest
bidder and without reference to feminine choice--that would be much
larger still. Eight pages are devoted to it and two only to the
exceptions, by Westermarck himself, who concludes (390) that "Purchase
of wives may, with even more reason than marriage by capture, be said
to form a general stage in the social history of mankind," How nearly
universal the practice is, or has been, may be inferred from the fact
that Sutherland (I., 208), after examining sixty-one negro races,
found fifty-seven recorded as purchasing their wives.

Widely prevalent also was the custom of allowing a man who had married
a girl to claim all her sisters as soon as they reached a marriageable
age. Whatever their own preferences might be, they had no choice.
Among the Indian tribes alone, Morgan mentions forty who indulged in
this custom. As for the levirate, that is another very wide-spread
custom which shows an utter disregard of woman's preference and
choice. It might be supposed that widows, at any rate, ought always to
be allowed, in case they wished to marry again, to follow their own
choice. But they are, like the daughters, regarded as personal
property, and are inherited by their late husband's brother or some
other male relative, who marries them himself or disposes of them as
he pleases. Whether the acceptance of a brother's widow or widows is a
right or a duty (prescribed by the desire for sons and
ancestor-worship) is immaterial for our purpose; for in either case
the widow must go as custom commands, and has no liberty of choice.
The levirate prevails, or has prevailed, among a great number of
races, from the lowest to those considerably advanced.

The list includes Australians, many Indians, from the low Brazilians
to the advanced Iroquois, Aleuts, Eskimos, Fijians, Samoans, Caroline
Islanders, natives of New Caledonia, New Guinea, New Britain, New
Hebrides, the Malay Archipelago, Wild tribes of India, Kamchadales,
Ostiaks, Kirghiz, Mongolians in general, Arabs, Egyptians, Hebrews,
natives of Madagascar, many Kaffir tribes, negroes of the Gold Coast,
Senegambians, Bechuanas, and a great many other Africans, etc.

Twelve pages of Westermarck's chapter on the Liberty of Choice are
devoted to peoples among whom not even a son is, or was, allowed to
marry without the father's consent. The list includes Mexicans,
Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrews, Egyptians,
Romans, Greeks, Hindoos, Germans, Celts, Russians, etc. In all these
cases the daughters, of course, enjoyed still less liberty of
disposing of their hand. In short, the argument against Darwin and
Westermarck is simply overwhelming--all the more when we look at the
numbers of the races who do not permit women their choice--the
400,000,000 Chinese, 300,000,000 Hindoos, the Mohammedan millions, the
whole continent of Australia, nearly all of aboriginal America and
Africa, etc.

A drowning man clings to a straw. "In Indian and Scandinavian tales,"
Westermarck informs us,

     "virgins are represented as having the power to dispose of
     themselves freely. Thus it was agreed that Skade should
     choose for herself a husband among the Asas, but she was to
     make her choice by the feet, the only part of their persons
     she was allowed to see."

Obviously the author of this tale from the _Younger Edda_ had more
sense of humor than some modern anthropologists have. No less
topsy-turvy is the Hindoo _Svayamvara_ or "Maiden's Choice," to which
Westermarck alludes (162). This is an incident often referred to in
epics and dramas. "It was a custom in royal circles," writes
Samuelson, "when a princess became marriageable, for a tournament to
be held, and the _victor was chosen_ by the princess as her husband."
If the sarcasm of the expression "Maiden's Choice" is unconscious, it
is all the more amusing. How far Hindoo women of all classes were and
are from enjoying the liberty of choice, we shall see in the chapter
on India.


I have given so much space to the question of choice because it is one
of exceptional importance. Where there is no choice there can he no
real courtship, and where there is no courtship there is no
opportunity for the development of those imaginative and sentimental
traits which constitute the essence of romantic love. It by no means
follows, however, that where choice is permitted to girls, as with the
Dyaks, real love follows as a matter of course; for it may be
prevented, as it is in the case of these Dyaks, by their sensuality,
coarseness, and general emotional shallowness and sexual frivolity.
The prevention of choice is only one of the obstacles to love, but it
is one of the most formidable, because it has acted at all times and
among races of all degrees of barbarism or civilization up to modern
Europe of two or three centuries ago. And to the frustration and free
choice was added another obstacle--the separation of the sexes. Some
Indians and even Australians tried to keep the sexes apart, though
usually without much success. In their cause no harm was done to the
cause of love, because these races are constitutionally incapable of
romantic love; but in higher stages of civilization the strict
seclusion of the women was a fatal obstacle to love. Wherever
separation of the sexes and chaperonage prevails, the only kind of
amorous infatuation possible, as a rule, is sensual passion, fiery but
transient. To love a girl sentimentally--that is, for her mental
beauty and moral refinement as well as her bodily charms--a man must
get acquainted with her, be allowed to meet her frequently. This was
not possible until within a few generations. The separation of the
sexes, by preventing all possibility of refined and legitimate
courtship, favored illicit amours on one side, loveless marriages on
the other, thus proving one of the most formidable obstacles to love.
"It is not enough to give time for mutual knowledge and affection
after marriage," wrote the late Henry Drummond.

     "Nature must deepen the result by extending it to the time
     before marriage.... Courtship, with its vivid perceptions
     and quickened emotions, is a great opportunity for
     evolution; and to institute and lengthen reasonably a period
     so rich in impression is one of its latest and brightest


If a law were passed compelling every man living in Rochester, N.Y.,
who wanted a wife to get her outside of that city, in Buffalo,
Syracuse, Utica, or some other place, it would be considered an
outrageous restriction of free choice, calculated to diminish greatly
the chances of love-matches based on intimate acquaintance. If such a
law had existed for generations and centuries, sanctioned by religion
and custom and so strictly enforced that violation of it entailed the
danger of capital punishment, a sentiment would have grown up in
course of time making the inhabitants of Rochester look upon marriage
within the city with the same horror as they do upon incestuous
unions. This is not an absurd or fanciful supposition. Such laws and
customs actually did prevail in this very section of New York State.
The Seneca tribe of the Iroquois Indians was divided into two
phratries, each of which was again subdivided into four clans, named
after their totems or animals; the Bear, Wolf, Beaver, and Turtle
clans belonging to one phratry, while the other included the Deer,
Snipe, Heron, and Hawk clans. Morgan's researches show that originally
an Indian belonging to one phratry could marry a woman belonging to
the other only. Subsequently the line was drawn less strictly, but
still no Indian was allowed to marry a squaw of his own clan, though
there might be no blood, relationship between them. If an Algonkin
married a girl of his clan he committed a crime for which his nearest
relatives might put him to death. This law has prevailed widely among
the wild races in various parts of the globe. McLennan, who first
called attention to its prevalence and importance, called it exogamy,
or marrying-out.

What led to this custom is not known definitely; nearly every
anthropologist has his own theory on the subject.[134] Luckily we are
not concerned here with the origin and causes of exogamy, but only
with the fact of its existence. It occurs not only among barbarians of
a comparatively high type, like the North American Indians, but among
the lowest Australian savages, who put to death any man who marries or
assaults a woman of the same clan as his. In some Polynesian islands,
among the wild tribes of India as well as the Hindoos, in various
parts of Africa, the law of exogamy prevails, and wherever it exists
it forms a serious obstacle to free choice--_i.e._, free love, in the
proper sense of the expression. As Herbert Spencer remarks,

     "The exogamous custom as at first established [being
     connected with capture] implies an extremely abject
     condition of women; a brutal treatment of them; an entire
     absence of the higher sentiments that accompany the
     relations of the sexes."

While exogamy thwarts love by minimizing the chances of intimate
acquaintance and genuine courtship, there is another form of sexual
taboo which conversely and designedly frustrates the tendency of
intimate acquaintance to ripen into passion and love. Though we do not
know just how the horror of incest arose, there can be no doubt that
there must be a natural basis for so strong and widely prevalent a
In so far as this horror of incest prevents the marriage of near
relatives, it is an obstacle to love that must be commended as
doubtless useful to the race. But when we find that in China there are
only 530 surnames, and that a man who marries a woman of the same
surname is punished for the crime of "incest"; that the Church under
Theodosius the Great forbade the union of relatives to the seventh
degree; that in many countries a man could not wed a relative by
marriage; that in Rome union with an adopted brother or sister was as
rigidly forbidden as with a real sister or brother;--when we come
across such facts we see that artificial and foolish notions regarding
incest must be added to the long list of agencies that have retarded
the growth of free choice and true love. And it should be noted that
in all these cases of exogamy and taboos of artificial incest, the
man's liberty of choice was restricted as well as the woman's. Thus
our cumulative evidence against the Darwin-Westermarck theory of free
choice is constantly gaining in weight.


Max O'Rell once wrote that he did not understand how there could be
such a thing as mulattoes in the world. It is certainly safe to say
that there are none such as a consequence of love. The features,
color, odor, tastes, and habits of one race have ever aroused the
antagonism of other races and prevented the growth of that sympathy
which is essential to love. In a man strong passion may overcome the
aversion to a more or less enduring union with a woman of a lower
race, just as extreme hunger may urge him to eat what his palate would
normally reject; but women seem to be proof against this temptation to
stoop: in mixed marriages it is nearly always the man who belongs to
the superior race. At first thought it might seem as if this racial
aversion could not do much to retard the growth of free choice and
love, since in early times, when facilities for travel were poor, the
races could not mix anyway as they do now. But this would be a great
error. Migrations, wars, slave-making and plundering expeditions have
at all times commingled the peoples of the earth, yet nothing is more
remarkable than the stubborn tenacity of racial prejudices.

     "Count de Gobineau remarks that not even a common
     religion and country can extinguish the hereditary
     aversion of the Arab to the Turk, of the Kurd to the
     Nestorian of Syria, of the Magyar to the Slav. Indeed,
     so strong, among the Arabs, is the instinct of ethnical
     isolation that, as a traveller relates, at Djidda,
     where sexual morality is held in little respect, a
     Bedouin woman may yield herself for money to a Turk or
     European, but would think herself forever dishonored if
     she were joined to him in lawful wedlock."[135]

We might suppose that the coarser races would be less capable of such
aversions than the half-civilized, but the contrary is true. In
Australia nearly every tribe is the deadly enemy of every other tribe,
and according to Chapman a Bushman woman would consider herself
degraded by intercourse with anyone not belonging to her tribe.
"Savage nations," says Humboldt, in speaking of the Chaymas of New

     "are subdivided into an infinity of tribes, which, bearing a
     cruel hatred toward each other, form no intermarriages, even
     when their languages spring from the same root, and when
     only a small arm of a river, or a group of hills, separates
     their habitation."

Here there is no chance for Leanders to swim across the waters to meet
their Heros. Poor Cupid! Everybody and everything seems to be against


Apart from racial prejudice there is the further obstacle of language.
A man cannot court a girl and learn to love her sentimentally unless
he can speak to her. Now Africa alone has 438 languages, besides a
number of dialects. Dr. Finsch says (38) that on the Melanasian island
of Tanua nearly every village has a dialect of its own which those of
the next village cannot understand; and this is a typical case.
American Indians usually communicate with each other by means of a
sign language. India has countless languages and dialects, and in
Canton the Chinamen from various parts of the Empire have to converse
with each other in "pidjin English." The Australians, who are perhaps
all of one race, nevertheless have no end of different names for even
so common a thing as the omnipresent kangaroo.[136] In Brazil, says
von Martins, travellers often come across a language

     "used only by a few individuals connected with each other by
     relationship, who are thus completely isolated, and can hold
     no communication with any of their other countrymen far or

and how great was the confusion of tongues among other South American
Indians may be inferred from the statement (Waitz, III., 355) that the
Caribs were so much in the habit of capturing wives from different
tribes and peoples that the men and women of each tribe never spoke
the same language. Under such circumstances a wife might become
attached to her husband as a captured, mute, and maltreated dog might
to his master; but romantic love is as utterly out of the question as
it is between master and dog.


Not content with hating one another cordially, the different races,
peoples, and tribes have taken special pains at all times and
everywhere to erect within their own limits a number of barriers
against free choice and love. In France, Germany, and other European
countries there is still a strong prejudice against marriages between
nobles and commoners, though the commoner may be much nobler than the
aristocrat in everything except the genealogical table. Civilization
is gradually destroying this obstacle to love, which has done so much
to promote immorality and has led to so many tragedies involving a
number of kings and princes, victims to the illusion that accident of
birth is nobler than brains or refinement. But among the ancient
civilized and mediaeval peoples the social barrier was as rigidly held
up as the racial prejudices. Milman remarks, in his _History of Latin
Christianity_ (I., 499, 528), that among the ancient Romans

     "there could be no marriages with slaves [though
     slaves, being captives, were not necessarily of a lower
     rank, but might be princesses].... The Emperor
     Valentinian further defined low and abject persons who
     might not aspire to lawful union with
     freemen--actresses, daughters of actresses,
     tavern-keepers, the daughters of tavern-keepers,
     procurers (leones) or gladiators, or those who had kept
     a public shop.... Till Roman citizenship had been
     imparted to the whole Roman Empire, it would not
     acknowledge marriage with barbarians to be more than a
     concubinage. Cleopatra was called only in scorn the
     wife of Antony. Berenice might not presume to be more
     than the mistress of Titus. The Christian world closed
     marriages again within still more and more jealous
     limits. Interdictory statutes declared marriages with
     Jews and heathens not only invalid but adulterous."

     "The Salic and Ripuarian law condemned the freeman
     guilty of this degradation [marrying a slave] to
     slavery; where the union was between a free woman and a
     slave, that of the Lombards and of the Burgundians,
     condemned both parties to death; but if her parents
     refused to put her to death, she became a slave of the
     crown. The Ripuarian law condemned the female
     delinquent to slavery; but the woman had the
     alternative of killing her base-born husband. She was
     offered a distaff and a sword. If she chose the distaff
     she became a slave; if a sword she struck it to the
     heart of her paramour and emancipated herself from her
     degrading connection."

In mediaeval Germany the line was so sharply drawn between the social
classes that for a long time slavery, or even death, was the
punishment for a mixed marriage. In course of time this barbarous
custom fell into disuse, but free choice continued to be discouraged
by the law that if a man married a woman beneath him in rank, neither
she nor her children were raised to his rank, and in case of his death
she had no claim to the usual provisions legally made for widows.

In India the caste prejudices are so strong and varied that they form
almost insuperable barriers to free love-choice. "We find castes
within castes," says Sir Monier Williams (153), "so that even the
Brahmans are broken up and divided into numerous races, which again
are subdivided into numerous tribes, families, or sub-castes," and all
these, he adds, "do not intermarry." In Japan, until three decades
ago, social barriers as to marriage were rigidly enforced, and in
China, to this day, slaves, boatmen, actors, policemen, can marry
women of their own class only. Nor are these difficulties eliminated
at once as we descend the ladder of civilization. In Brazil, Central
America, in the Polynesian and other Pacific Islands and elsewhere we
find such barriers to free marriage, and among the Malayan Hovas of
Madagascar even the slaves are subdivided into three classes, which do
not intermarry! It is only among those peoples which are too low to be
able to experience sentimental love anyway that this formidable
obstacle of class prejudice vanishes, while race and tribal hatred
remain in full force.


Among peoples sufficiently advanced to have dogmas, religion has
always proved a strong barrier in the way of the free bestowal of
affection. Not only have Mohammedans and Christians hated and shunned
each other, but the different Christian sects for a long time detested
and tabooed one another as cordially as they did the heathen and the
Jews. Tertullian denounced the marriage of a Christian with a heathen
as fornication, and Westermarck cites Jacobs's remark that

     "the folk-lore of Europe regarded the Jews as something
     infra-human, and it would require an almost impossible
     amount of large toleration for a Christian maiden of
     the Middle Ages to regard union with a Jew as anything
     other than unnatural."

There are various minor obstacles that might be dwelt on, but enough
has been said to make it clear why romantic love was the last of the
sentiments to be developed.

Having considered the divers ingredients and different kinds of love
and distinguished romantic love from sensual passion and
sentimentality, as well as from conjugal affection, we are now in a
position to examine intelligently and in some detail a number of races
in all parts of the world, by way of further corroborating and
emphasizing the conclusions reached.


What is the lowest of all human races? The Bushmen of South Africa,
say some ethnologists, while others urge the claims of the natives of
Australia, the Veddahs of Ceylon, or the Fuegians of South America. As
culture cannot be measured with a yardstick, it is impossible to
arrive at any definite conclusion. For literary and geographic
reasons, which will become apparent later on, I prefer to begin the
search for traces of romantic love with the Bushmen of South Africa.
And here we are at once confronted by the startling assertion of the
explorer James Chapman, that there is "love in all their marriages."
If this is true--if there is love in all the marriages of what is one
of the lowest human races--then I have been pursuing a
will-o'-the-wisp in the preceding pages of this book, and it will be a
waste of ink and paper to write another line. But _is_ it true? Let us
first see what manner of mortals these Bushmen are, before subjecting
Mr. Chapman's special testimony to a cross-examination. The following
facts are compiled from the most approved authorities.


The eminent anatomist Fritsch, in his valuable work on the natives of
South Africa (386-407), describes the Bushmen as being even in
physical development far below the normal standard. Their limbs are
"horribly thin" in both sexes; both women and men are "frightfully
ugly," and so much alike that, although they go about almost naked, it
is difficult to tell them apart. He thinks they are probably the
aboriginal inhabitants of Africa, scattered from the Cape to the
Zambesi, and perhaps beyond. They are filthy in their habits, and
"washing the body is a proceeding unknown to them." When the French
anatomist Cuvier examined a Bushman woman, he was reminded of an ape
by her head, her ears, her movements, and her way of pouting the lips.
The language of the Bushmen has often been likened to the chattering
of monkeys. According to Bleek, who has collected their tales, their
language is of the lowest known type. Lichtenstein (II., 42) found the
Bushman women like the men, "ugly in the extreme," adding that "they
understand each other more by their gestures than by their speaking."
"No one has a name peculiar to himself." Others have described them as
having protuberant stomachs, prominent posteriors, hollowed-out backs,
and "few ideas but those of vengeance and eating." They have only two
numerals, everything beyond two being "much," and except in those
directions where the struggle for life has sharpened their wits, their
intellectual faculties in general are on a level with their
mathematics. Their childish ignorance is illustrated by a question
which some of them seriously asked Chapman (I., 83) one day--whether
his big wagons were not the mothers of the little ones with slender

How well their minds are otherwise adapted for such an
intellectualized, refined, and esthetic feeling as love, may also be
inferred from the following observations. Lichtenstein points out that
while necessity has given them acute sight and hearing,

     "they might almost be supposed to have neither taste, smell,
     nor feeling; no disgust is ever evinced by them at even the
     most nauseous kind of food, nor do they appear to have any
     feeling of even the most striking changes in the temperature
     of the atmosphere."

"No meat," says Chapman (I., 57), "in whatever state of decomposition,
is ever discarded by Bushmen." They dispute carrion with wolves and
vultures. Rabbits they eat skins and all, and their menu is varied by
all sorts of loathsome reptiles and insects.

No other savages, says Lichtenstein, betray "so high a degree of
brutal ferocity" as the Bushmen. They "kill their own children without
remorse." The missionary Moffat says (57) that "when a mother dies
whose infant is not able to shift for itself, it is, without any
ceremony, buried alive with the corpse of its mother." Kicherer,
another missionary, says

     "there are instances of parents throwing their tender
     offspring to the hungry lion, who stands roaring before
     their cavern, refusing to depart till some peace-offering be
     made to him."

He adds that after a quarrel between husband and wife the one beaten
is apt to take revenge by killing their child; and that, on various
occasions, parents smother their children, cast them away in the
desert, or bury them alive without remorse. Murder is an amusement,
and is considered a praiseworthy act. Livingstone (_M.T._, 159) tells
of a Bushman who thought his god would consider him a "clever fellow"
because he had murdered a man, two women, and two children. When
fathers and mothers become too old to be of any use, or to take care
of themselves, they are abandoned in the desert to be devoured alive
by wild beasts. "I have often reasoned with the natives on this cruel
practice," says the missionary Moffat (99); "in reply to which, they
would only laugh." "It appears an awful exhibition of human
depravity," he adds, "when children compel their parents to perish for
want, or to be devoured by beasts of prey in a desert, _from no other
motive but sheer laziness._" Kicherer says there are a few cases of
"natural affection" sufficient to raise these creatures to "a level
with the brute creation," Moffat, too, refers to exceptional cases of
kindness, but the only instance he gives (112) describes their terror
on finding he had drunk some water poisoned by them, and their
gladness when he escaped--which terror and gladness were, however,
very probably inspired not by sympathy but by the idea of punishment
at causing the death of a white man. Chapman himself, the chosen
champion of the Bushmen, relates (I., 67) how, having heard of Bushmen
rescuing and carrying home some Makalolos whom they had found dying of
thirst in the desert, he believed it at first; but he adds:

     "Had I at that time possessed a sufficient knowledge of
     native character, I should not have been so credulous
     as to have listened to this report, for the idea of
     Bushmen carrying human beings whom they had found half
     dead out of a desert implies an act of charity quite
     inconsistent with their natural disposition and

Barrow declares (269) that if Bushmen come across a Hottentot guarding
his master's cattle,

     "not contented with putting him to immediate death,
     they torture him by every means of cruelty that their
     invention can frame, as drawing out his bowels, tearing
     off his nails, scalping, and other acts equally

They sometimes bury a victim up to the neck in the ground and thus
leave him to be pecked to death by crows.


And yet--I say it once more--we are asked to believe there is "love in
all the marriages" of these fiendish creatures--beings who, as
Kicherer says, live in holes or caves, where they "lie close together
like pigs in a sty" and of whom Moffat declares that with the
exception of Pliny's Troglodites "no tribe or people are surely more
brutish, ignorant, and miserable." Our amazement at Chapman's
assertion increases when we examine his argument more closely. Here it
is (I., 258-59):

     "Although they have a plurality of wives, which they
     also obtain by purchase, there is still love in all
     their marriages, and courtship among them is a very
     formal and, in some respects, a rather punctilious
     affair. When a young Bushman falls in love, he sends
     his sister to ask permission to pay his addresses; with
     becoming modesty the girl holds off in a playful, yet
     not scornful or repulsive manner if she likes him. The
     young man next sends his sister with a spear, or some
     other trifling article, which she leaves at the door of
     the girl's home. If this be not returned within the
     three or four days allowed for consideration, the
     Bushman takes it for granted that he is accepted, and
     gathering a number of his friends, he makes a grand
     hunt, generally killing an elephant or some other large
     animal and bringing the whole of the flesh to his
     intended father-in-law. The family now riot in an
     abundant supply.... After this the couple are
     proclaimed husband and wife, and the man goes to live
     with his father-in-law for a couple of winters, killing
     game, and always laying the produce of the chase at his
     feet as a mark of respect, duty, and gratitude."

It would take considerable ingenuity to condense into an equal number
of lines a greater amount of ignorance and naïveté than this passage
includes. And yet a number of anthropologists have accepted this
passage serenely as expert evidence that there is love in all the
marriages of the lowest of African races. Peschel was misled by it;
Westermarck triumphantly puts it at the head of his cases intended to
prove that "even very rude savages may have conjugal affection;" Moll
meekly accepts it as a fact (_Lib. Sex._, Bd. I., Pt. 2, 403); and it
seems to have made an impression on Katzel, and even on Fritsch. If
these writers had taken the trouble to examine Chapman's
qualifications for serving as a witness in anthropological questions,
they would have saved themselves the humiliation of being thus duped.
His very assertion that there is love in _all_ Bushman marriages ought
to have shown them what an untrustworthy witness he is; for a more
reckless and absurd statement surely was never penned by any
globe-trotter. There is not now, and there never has been, a people
among whom love could be found in all marriages, or half the
marriages. In another place (I., 43) Chapman gives still more striking
evidence of his unfitness to serve as a witness. Speaking of the
family of a Bamanwato chief, he says:

     "I was not aware of this practice of early marriages
     until the wife of an old man I had engaged here to
     accompany us, a child of about eight years of age, was
     pointed out to me, and in my ignorance I laughed
     outright, until my interpreter explained the
     matrimonial usages of their people."

Chapman's own editor was tempted by this exhibition of ignorance to
write the following footnote: "The author seems not to have been aware
that such early marriages are common among the Hindoos." He might have
added "and among most of the lower races."

The ignorance which made Chapman "laugh outright" when he was
confronted by one of the most elementary facts of anthropology, is
responsible for his reckless assertions in the paragraph above quoted.
It is an ignorant assumption on his part that it is the feelings of
"respect, duty, and gratitude" that make a Bushman provide his bride's
father with game for a couple of winters. Such feelings are unknown to
the Bushman's soul. Working for the bride's father is simply his way
(if he has no property to give) of paying for his wife--an
illustration of the widespread custom of service. If polygamy and the
custom of purchasing wives do not, as Chapman intimates, prevent love
from entering into all Bushman marriages, then these aborigines must
be constructed on an entirely different plan from other human beings,
among whom we know that polygamy crushes monopoly of affection, while
a marriage by purchase is a purse-affair, not a heart-affair--the girl
going nearly always to the highest bidder.

But Chapman's most serious error--the one on which he founded his
theory that there is love in all Bushman marriages--lies in his
assumption that the ceremony of sham capture indicates modesty and
love, whereas, as we saw in the chapter on Coyness, it is a mere
survival of capture, the most ruffianly way of securing a bride, in
which her choice or feelings are absolutely disregarded, and which
tells us nothing except that a man covets a woman and that she feigns
resistance because custom, as taught by her parents, compels her to do
so. Inasmuch as she _must_ resist whether she likes the man or not,
how could such sham "coyness" be a symptom of love? Moreover, it
appears that even this sham coyness is exceptional, since, as Burchell
informs us (II., 59), it is only when a girl grows up to womanhood
without having been betrothed--"which, however, seldom happens"--that
the female receives the man's attentions with such an "affectation of
great alarm and disinclination on her part."

Burchell also informs us that a Bushman will take a second wife when
the first one has become old, "not in years but in constitution;" and
Barrow discovered the same thing (I., 276): "It appeared that it was
customary for the elderly men to have two wives, one old and past
child-bearing, the other young." Chapman, too, relates that a Bushman
will often cast off his early wife and take a younger one, and as that
does not prevent him from finding affection in their conjugal unions,
we are enabled from this to infer that "love" means to him not
enduring sympathy or altruistic capacity and eagerness for
self-sacrifice, but a selfish, transient fondness continuing only as
long as a woman is young and can gratify a man's sexual appetite. That
kind of love doubtless does exist in all Bushman marriages.

Chapman further declares (II., 75) that these people lead
"comparatively" chaste lives. I had supposed that, as an egg is either
good or bad, so a man or woman is either chaste or unchaste. Other
writers, who had no desire to whitewash savages, tell us not only
"comparatively" but positively what Bushman morals are. A Bushman told
Theophilus Halm (_Globus_, XVIII., 122) that quarrels for the
possession of women often lead to murder; "nevertheless, the
lascivious fellow assured me it was a fine thing to appropriate the
wives of others." Wake (I., 205) says they lend their wives to
strangers, and Lichtenstein tells us (II., 48) that "the wife is not
indissolubly united to the husband; but when he gives her permission,
she may go whither she will and associate with any other man." And
again (42):

     "Infidelity to the marriage compact is not considered a
     crime, it is scarcely regarded by the offended
     person.... They seem to have no idea of the distinction
     of girl, maiden, and wife; they are all expressed by
     one word alone. I leave every reader to draw from this
     single circumstance his own inference with regard to
     the nature of love and every kind of moral feeling
     among them."[137]

That this is not too severe a criticism is obvious from the fact that
Lichtenstein, in judging savages, was rather apt to err on the side of
leniency. The equally generous and amiable missionary Moffat (174-75)
censures him, for instance, for his favorable view of the Bechuanas,
saying that he was not with them long enough to know their real
character. Had he dwelt among them, accompanied them on journeys, and
known them as he (Moffat) did, "he would not have attempted to revive
the fabled delights and bliss of ignorance reported to exist in the
abodes of heathenism."

It is in comparison with these Bechuanas that Chapman calls the
Bushmen moral, obviously confounding morality with licentiousness.
Without having any moral principles at all, it is quite likely that
the Bushmen are less licentious than their neighbors for the simple
reason that they are less well-fed; for as old Burton remarks, for the
most part those are "aptest to love that are young and lusty, live at
ease, stall-fed, free from cares, like cattle in a rank
pasture"--whereas the Bushmen are nearly always thin, half-starved
denizens of the African deserts, enervated by constant fears, and so
unmanly that "a single musket shot," says Lichtenstein, "will put a
hundred to flight, and whoever rushes upon them with only a good stick
in his hand has no reason to fear any resistance from ever so large a

Such men are not apt to be heroes among women in any sense. Indeed,
Galton says (_T.S.A._, 178), "I am sure that Bushmen are, generally
speaking, henpecked. They always consult their wives. The Damaras do
not." Chapman himself, with unconscious humor, gives us (I., 391) a
sample of the "love" which he found in "all Bushman marriages;" his
remarks confirming at the same time the truth I dwelt on in the
chapter on Individual Preference, that among savages the sexes are
less individualized than with us, the men being more effeminate, the
women viragoes:

     "The passive and _effeminate_ disposition of the men,
     of which we have had frequent reason to complain in the
     course of this narrative, was illustrated in the revel
     which accompanied the parting feast, when the men
     allowed themselves to be beaten by the women, who, I am
     told, are in the constant habit of belaboring their
     devoted husbands, in order to keep them in proper
     subjection. On this occasion the men got broken heads
     at the hands of their gentle partners; one had his
     nose, another his ear, nearly bitten off."

Notwithstanding this affectionate "constant habit" of breaking their
husbands' heads, the Bushman women have not succeeded in teaching them
even the rudiments of gallantry. "The woman is a beast of burden,"
says Hahn; "at the same time she is subjected to ill-treatment which
not seldom leads to death." When camp is moved, the gallant husband
carries his spear and quiver, the wife "does the rest," carrying the
baby, the mat, the earthen cooking-pot, the ostrich shells, and a
bundle of skins. If it happens, as it often does, that there is not
enough to eat, the wife has to go hungry. In revenge she usually
prepares her own food only, leaving him to do his own cooking. If a
wife falls ill on the way to a new camping-place, she is left behind
to perish. (Ratzel, I., 7.)

In conclusion, and as a climax to my argument, I will quote the
testimony of three missionaries who did not simply make a flying visit
or two to the country of the Bushmen, as Chapman did, but lived among
them. The Rev. R. Moffat (49) cites the missionary Kicherer, "whose
circumstances while living among them afforded abundant opportunities
of becoming intimately acquainted with their real condition," and who
wrote that the Bushmen "are total strangers to domestic happiness. The
men have several wives, but conjugal affection is little known." This
opinion is thus endorsed by Moffat, and a third missionary, the Rev.
F. Fleming, wrote (167) that among Bushmen "conjugal affection seems
totally unknown," and pre-matrimonial love is of course out of
question in a region where girls are married as infants. The wife
always has to work harder than the husband. If she becomes weak or ill
she is unceremoniously left behind to starve. (Ratzel, I., 72.)


Darwin has well observed that a false argument is comparatively
harmless because subsequent discussion is sure to demolish it, whereas
a false fact may perplex speculation for ages. Chapman's assertion
that there is love in all Bushman marriages is one of these false
facts, as our cross-examination has shown. In passing now to the
neighbors of the Bushmen, the Hottentots, let us bear in mind the
lesson taught. They called themselves Khoi-Khoin, "men of men," while
Van Riebeck's followers referred to them as "black stinking hounds."
There is a prevalent impression that nearly all Africans are negroes.
But the Hottentots are not negroes any more than are the Bushmen, or
the Kaffirs, whom we shall consider next. Ethnologists are not agreed
as to the relationship that exists between Bushmen and Hottentots, but
it is certain that the latter represent a somewhat higher level of
civilization. Yet, here again we must guard carefully against "false
facts," especially in reference to the topic that interests us--the
relations of the sexes. As late as 1896 the eminent American
anthropologist, Dr. Brinton, had an article in _Science_ (October
16th), in which he remarked that "one trait which we admire in
Hottentots is their regard for women," He was led into making this
assertion by an article entitled "Woman in Hottentot Poetry," which
appeared in the German periodical _Globus_ (Vol. 70, pp. 173-77). It
was written by Dr. L. Jakobowski, and is quite as misleading as
Chapman's book. Its logic is most peculiar. The writer first shows (to
his own satisfaction) that the Hottentots treat their women somewhat
better than other South Africans do, and from this "fact" he goes on
to infer that they must have love-songs! He admits, indeed, that (with
a few exceptions, to be presently considered) we know nothing of these
songs, but it "seems certain" that they must be sung at the erotic
dances of the natives; these, however, carefully conceal them from the
missionaries, and as Jakobowski naïvely adds, to heed the missionaries
"would be tantamount to giving up their old sensual dances."

What facts does Jakobowski adduce in support of his assertion that
Hottentots have a high regard for their women? He says:

     "Without his wife's permission a Hottentot does not
     drink a drop of milk, and should he dare to do so, the
     women of his family will take away the cows and sheep
     and add them to their flocks. A girl has the right to
     punish her brother if he violates the laws of courtesy.
     The oldest sister may have him chained and punished,
     and if a slave who is being castigated implores his
     master by the name of his (the master's) sister to
     desist, the blows must cease or else the master is
     bound to pay a fine to the sister who has been


If all these statements were real facts--and we shall presently see
that they are not--they would prove no more than that the modern
Hottentots, like their neighbors, the Bushmen, are hen-pecked. Barrow
(I., 286) speaks of the "timid and pusillanimous mind which
characterizes the Hottentots," and elsewhere (144) he says that their

     "impolitic custom of hording together in families, and of
     not marrying out of their own kraals, has, no doubt, tended
     to enervate this race of men, and reduced them to their
     present degenerated condition, which is that of a languid,
     listless, phlegmatic people, in whom the prolific powers of
     nature seem to be almost exhausted."

It does not, therefore, surprise us to be told (by Thunberg) that "it
frequently happens that a woman marries two husbands." And these women
are anything but feminine and lovable. One of the champions of the
Hottentots, Theophilus Hahn, says (_Globus_, XII., 304) of the Namaqua
women that they love to torture their slaves: "When they cudgel a
slave one can easily read in their faces the infernal joy it gives
them to witness the tortures of their victims." He often saw women
belaboring the naked back of a slave with branches of the cruel
_acacia delinens_, and finally rub salt or saltpetre into the wounds.
Napier (I., 59) says of the Hottentots, that

     "if the parents of a newly born child found him or her _de
     trop_, the poor little wretch was either mercilessly buried
     alive, or exposed in a thicket, there to be devoured by
     beasts of prey."

While he had to take it for granted that there must be love-songs
among these cruel Hottentots, Jakobowski had no trouble in finding
songs of hate, of defiance, and revenge. Even these cannot be cited
without omitting objectionable words. Here is one, properly

     "Take this man away from me that he may be beaten and
     his mother weep over him and the worms eat him.... Let
     this man be brought before your counsel and cudgelled
     until not a shred of flesh remains on his ... that the
     worms would care to eat; for the reason that he has
     done me such a painful injury," etc.


Jakobowski's assertion that a man's oldest sister may have him chained
and punished is obviously a cock-and-bull story. It is diametrically
opposed to what Peter Kolben says: "The eldest son has in a manner an
absolute authority over all his brothers and sisters." "Among the
Hottentots an eldest son may after his father's death retain his
brothers and sisters in a sort of slavery." Kolben is now accepted as
the leading authority on the aboriginal Hottentots, as he found them
two centuries ago, before the missionaries had had time to influence
their customs. What makes him the more unimpeachable as a witness in
our case is that he is decidedly prejudiced in favor of the
Hottentots.[138] What was the treatment of women by Hottentots as
witnessed by Kolben? Is it true that, as Jakobowski asserts, the
Hottentot woman rules at home? Quite true; most emphatically so. The
husband, says Kolben (I., 252-55), after the hut is built,

     "has absolutely nothing more to do with the house and
     domestic affairs; he turns the care for them over to
     his wife, who is obliged to procure provisions as well
     as she can and cook them. The husband devotes himself
     to drinking, eating, smoking, loafing, and sleeping,
     and takes no more concern about the affairs of his
     family than if he had none at all. _If he goes out to
     fish or hunt, it is rather to amuse himself than to
     help his wife and children...._ Even the care of his
     cattle the poor wife, despite all her other work,
     shares with him. The only thing she is not allowed to
     meddle with is the sale. This is a prerogative which
     constitutes the man's honor and which he would not
     allow anyone to take away from him with impunity."

The wife, he goes on to say, has to cut the fire-wood and carry it to
the house, gather roots and other food and prepare it for the whole
family, milk the cows, and take care of the children. The older
daughters help her, but need so much watching that they are only an
additional care; and all this time the husband "lies lazily on his
back." "Such is the wretched life of the Hottentot woman," he sums up;
"she lives in a perpetual slavery." Nor is there any family life or
companionship, they eat separately, and

     "the wife never sets foot in the husband's room, which is
     separated from the rest of the house; she seldom enjoys his
     company. He commands as master, she obeys as slave, without
     ever complaining."


"What we admire in Hottentots is their regard for women." Here are
some more illustrations of this loving "regard for women." The Rev. J.
Philip (II., 207) says that the Namaqua women begged Moffat to remain
with them, telling him that before he came "we were treated by the men
as brutes, and worse than they treated brutes." While the men loafed
they had to go and collect food, and if they returned unsuccessful, as
was often the case, they were generally beaten. They had to cook for
the men and were not allowed a bite till they had finished their meal.
"When they had eaten, we were obliged to retire from their presence to
consume the offals given to us." When twins are born, says Kolben
(304), there is great rejoicing if they are boys; two fat buffaloes
are killed, and all the neighbors invited to the feast; but if the
twins are girls, two sheep only are killed and there is no feast or
rejoicing. If one of the twins is a girl she is invariably killed,
buried alive, or exposed on a tree or in the bushes. When a boy has
reached a certain age he is subjected to a peculiarly disgusting
ceremony, and after that he may insult his mother with impunity
whenever he chooses: "he may cudgel her, if he pleases, to suit his
whim, without any danger of being called to an account for it." Kolben
says he often witnessed such insolence, which was even applauded as a
sign of manliness and courage. "What barbarity!" he exclaims. "It is a
result of the contempt which these peoples feel for women." He used to
remonstrate with them, but they could hardly restrain their
impatience, and the only answer he could get was "_it is the custom of
the Hottentots, they have never done otherwise_."

Andersson (_Ngami_, 332) says of the Namaqua Hottentots:

     "If a man becomes tired of his wife, he unceremoniously
     returns her to the parental roof, and however much she (or
     the parents) may object to so summary a proceeding, there is
     no remedy."

In Kolben's time wives convicted of adultery were killed, while the
men could do as they chose. In later times a lashing with a strap of
rhinoceros hide was substituted for burning. Kolben thought that the
serious punishment for adultery prevalent in his time argued that
there must be love among the Hottentots, though he confessed he could
see no signs of it. He was of course mistaken in his assumption, for,
as was made clear in our chapter on Jealousy, murderous rage at an
infringement on a man's conjugal property does not constitute or prove
love, but exists entirely apart from it.


The injuriousness of "false facts" to science is illustrated by a
remark which occurs in the great work on the natives of South Africa
by Dr. Fritsch, who is justly regarded as one of the leading
authorities on that subject. Speaking of the Hottentots (Namaqua) he
says (351) that "whereas Tindall indicates sensuality and selfishness
as two of their most prominent characteristics, Th. Hahn lauds their
conjugal attachment independent of fleshly love." Here surely is
unimpeachable evidence, for Theophilus Hahn, the son of a missionary,
was born and bred among these peoples. But if we refer to the passage
which Fritsch alluded to (_Globus_, XII., 306), we find that the
reasons Hahn gives for believing that Hottentots are capable of
something higher than carnal desires are that many of them, though
rich enough to have a harem, content themselves with one wife, and
that if a wife dies before her husband, he very seldom marries again.
Yet in the very next sentence Hahn mentions a native trait which
sufficiently explains both these customs. "Brides," he says, "cost
many oxen and sheep, and the men, as among other South African
peoples, the Kaffirs, for instance, would rather have big herds of
cattle than a good-looking wife." Apart from this explanation, I fail
to see what necessary connection there is between a man's being
content with one wife and his capacity for sentimental love, since his
greed for cattle and his lack of physical stamina and appetite fully
account for his monogamy. This matter must be judged from the
Hottentot point of view, not from ours. It is well known that in
regions where polygamy prevails a man who wishes to be kind to his
wife does not content himself with her, but marries another, or
several others, to share the hard work with her. These Hottentots have
not enough consideration for their hard-worked wives to do even that.


The coarseness and obscenity of the Hottentots constitute further
reasons for believing them incapable of refined love. Their eulogist,
Kolben, himself was obliged to admit that they "find a peculiar
pleasure in filth and stench" and "are in the matter of diet the
filthiest people in the world." The women eat their own vermin, which
swarm in their scant attire. Nor is decency the object for which they
wear this scant dress---quite the reverse. Speaking of the male
Hottentot's very simple dress, Barrow says (I., 154) that

     "if the real intent of it was the promotion of decency,
     it should seem that he has widely missed his aim, as it
     is certainly one of the most immodest objects, in such
     a situation as he places it, that could have been

And concerning the little apron worn by the women he says:

     "Great pains seem to be taken by the women to attract notice
     toward this part of their persons. Large metal buttons ...
     or anything that makes a great show, are fastened to the
     borders of this apron."

Kolben relates that when a Hottentot desires to marry a girl he goes
with his father to the girl's father, who gives the answer after
consulting with his wife. If the verdict is unfavorable "the gallant's
love for the beauty is readily cured and he casts his eyes on another
one." But a refusal is rarely given unless the girl is already
promised to another. The girl, too, is consulted, but only nominally,
for if she refuses she can retain her liberty only by an all-night
struggle with her suitor in which she usually succumbs, after which
she has to marry him whether she wishes to or not. Kolben gives other
details of the marriage ceremony which are too filthy to be even
hinted at here.


By persons who had lived many years among the Colonial Hottentots,
Fritsch (328) was assured that these people, far from being the models
of chastity Kolben tried to prove them, indulged in licentious
festivals lasting several days, at which all restraints were cast
aside. And this brings us back to our starting-point--Dr. Jakobowski's
peculiar argument concerning the "love poems" which he feels sure must
be sung at the erotic dances of the natives, though they are carefully
concealed from the missionaries. If they were poems of sentiment, the
missionaries would not disapprove, and there would be no reason for
concealing them; but the foregoing remarks show clearly enough what
kind of "love" they would be likely to sing about. If any doubt
remained on the subject the following delightful confession, which the
eugolist Hahn makes in a moment of confidence, would settle the
matter. To appreciate the passage, bear in mind that the Hottentots
are the people among whom excessive posterior corpulence (steatopyga)
is especially admired as the acme of physical attractions. Now Hahn
says (335):

     "The young girls drink whole cups of liquid fat, and
     for a good reason, the object being to attain a very
     rotund body by a fattening process, in order that Hymen
     may claim them as soon as possible. They do not grow
     sentimental and sick from love and jealousy, nor do
     they die from the anguish and woes of love, as our
     women do, nor engage in love-intrigues, but they look
     at the whole matter in a very materialistic and sober
     way. _Their sole love-affair is the fattening process,
     on the result of which, as with a pig, depends the
     girl's value and the demand for her._"

In this last sentence, which I have taken the liberty to italicize,
lies the philosophy of African "love" in general, and I am glad to be
able to declare it on such unquestionable authority. What a Hottentot
"regards" in a woman is _Fat_; _Sentiment_ is out of the question.
When Hottentots are together, says Kolben,

     "you never see them give tender kisses or cast loving
     glances at each other. Day and night, on every
     occasion, they are so cold and so indifferent to each
     other that you would not believe that they love each
     other or are married. If in a hut there were twenty
     Hottentots with their wives, it would be impossible to
     tell, either from their words or actions, which of them
     belonged together."


As intimated on a preceding page, there are, among Dr. Jakobowski's
examples of Hottentot lyrics[139] a few which may be vaguely included
in the category of love-poems. "Where did you hear that I love you
while you are unloving toward me?" complained one Hottentot; while
another warned his friend: "That is the misfortune pursuing you that
you love where you ought not to!" A third declared. "I shall not cease
to love however much they (_i.e._, the parents or guardians) may
oppose me," A fourth addresses this song to a young girl:

     My lioness!
     Are you afraid that I may bewitch you?
     You milk the cow with fleshy hand.
     Bite me!
     Pour out (the milk) for me!
     My lioness!
     Daughter of a great man!

It is needless to say that in the first three of these aboriginal
"lyrics" there is not the slightest indication that the "love"
expressed rises above mere covetous desire of the senses; and as for
the fourth, what is there in it besides reference to the girl's
fatness (fleshy hand), her utility in milking and serving the milk and
her carnal bites? Yet in this frank avowal of masculine selfishness
and sensuality Hahn finds "a certain refinement of sentiment"!


Though a Hottentot belle's value in the marriage market is determined
chiefly by the degree of her corpulence, girls of the higher families
are not, it seems, devoid of other means of attracting the attention
of men. At least I infer so from the following passage in Dalton's
book (_T.S.A._, 104) relating to a certain chief:

     "He had a charming daughter, the greatest belle among
     the blacks that I had ever seen, and the most
     thorough-paced coquette. Her main piece of finery, and
     one that she flirted about in a most captivating
     manner, was a shell of the size of a penny-piece. She
     had fastened it to the end of a lock of front hair,
     which was of such length as to permit the shell to
     dangle to the precise level of her eyes. She had
     learned to move her head with so great precision as to
     throw the shell exactly over whichever eye she pleased,
     and the lady's winning grace consisted in this feat of
     bo-peep, first eclipsing an eye and languishing out of
     the other, and then with an elegant toss of the head
     reversing the proceedings."


Our search for true love in Africa has thus far resulted in failure,
the alleged discoveries of a few sanguine sentimentalists having
proved to be illusory. If we now turn to the Kaffirs, who share with
the Hottentots the southern extremity of Africa, we find that here
again we must above all things guard against "false facts."
Westermarck (61), after citing Barrow (I., 206) to the effect that "a
Kaffir woman is chaste and extremely modest," adds:

     "and Mr. Cousins informs me that between their various
     feasts the Kaffirs, both men and women, have to live in
     strict continence, the penalty being banishment from the
     tribe if this law is broken."

It would be interesting to know what Barrow means by "extremely
modest" since he admits that that attribute

     "might be questioned. If, for instance, a young woman
     be asked whether she be married, not content with
     giving the simple negative, she throws open her cloak
     and displays her bosom; and as most frequently she has
     no other covering beneath, she perhaps may discover at
     the same time, though unintentionally, more of her

But it is his assertion that "a Kaffir woman is chaste" that clashes
most outrageously with all recorded facts and the testimony of the
leading authorities, including many missionaries. Dr. Fritsch says in
the preface to his standard book on the natives of South Africa that
the assertions of Barrow are to be accepted "with caution, or rather
with suspicion." It is the absence of this caution and suspicion that
has led Westermarck into so many erroneous conclusions. In the present
instance, however, it is absolutely incomprehensible why he should
have cited the one author who calls the Kaffirs chaste, ignoring the
crushing weight of countless facts showing them to be extremely

It is worthy of note that testimony as to the chastity of wild races
generally comes from mere travellers among them, ignorant of their
language and intimate habits, whereas the writings of those who have
dwelt among them give one a very different idea. As the Rev. Mr.
Holden remarks (187), those who have "boasted of the chastity, purity,
and innocence of heathen life" have not been "behind the scenes."
Here, for instance, is Geo. McCall Theal, who lived among the Kaffir
people twenty years, filling various positions among them, varying
from a mission teacher to a border magistrate, and so well acquainted
with their language that he was able to collect and print a volume on
_Kaffir Folk Lore_. Like all writers who have made a specialty of a
subject, he is naturally somewhat biased in favor of it, and this
gives still more weight to his words on negative points. Regarding the
question of chastity he says:

     "Kaffir ideas of some kinds of morality are very low.
     The custom is general for a married woman to have a
     lover who is not her husband, and little or no disgrace
     attaches to her on this account. The lover is generally
     subject to a fine of no great amount, and the husband
     may give the woman a beating, but that finishes the

The German missionary Neuhaus bears witness to the fact that (like the
Bushmen and most other Africans) the Kaffirs are in one respect lower
than the lowest beasts, inasmuch as for the sake of filthy lucre
parents often marry off their daughters before they have attained
maturity. Girls of eight to ten are often given into the clutches of
wealthy old men who are already supplied with a harem. Concerning
girls in general, and widows, we are told that they can do whatever
they please, and that they only ask their lovers not to be imprudent,
as they do not wish to lose their liberty and assume maternal duties
too soon if they can help it. Lichtenstein says (I., 264) that

     "a traveller remaining some time with a horde easily
     finds an unmarried young woman with whom he contracts
     the closest intimacy; nay, it is not uncommon, as a
     mark of hospitality, to offer him one as a companion,"

and no wonder, for among these Kaffirs there is "no feeling of love in
marriage" (161). The German missionary Alberti relates (97) that
sometimes a Kaffir girl is offered to a man in marriage. Having
assured himself of her health, he claims the further privilege of a
night's acquaintance; after which, if she pleases him, he proceeds to
bargain for her permanent possession. Another competent and reliable
observer, Stephen Kay, corresponding member of the South African
Institution, who censures Barrow sharply for his incorrect remarks on
Kaffir morals, says:

     "No man deems it any sin whatever to seduce his
     neighbor's wife: his only grounds of fear are the
     probability of detection, and the fine demanded by law
     in such cases. The females, accustomed from their youth
     up to this gross depravity of manners, neither
     manifest, nor apparently feel, any delicacy in stating
     and describing circumstances of the most shameful
     nature before an assemblage of men, whose language is
     often obscene beyond description" (105). "Fornication
     is a common and crying sin. The women are well
     acquainted with the means of procuring miscarriage; and
     those means are not unfrequently resorted to without
     bringing upon the offender any punishment or disgrace
     whatever.... When adultery is clearly proved the
     husband is generally fully satisfied with the fine
     usually levied upon the delinquent.... So degraded
     indeed are their views on subjects of this nature ...
     that the man who has thus obtained six or eight head of
     cattle deems it a fortunate circumstance rather than
     otherwise; he at once renews his intimacy with the
     seducer, and in the course of a few days becomes as
     friendly and familiar with him as ever" (141-42).

     "Whenever the Kaffir monarch hears of a young woman
     possessed of more than ordinary beauty, and at all
     within his reach, he unceremoniously sends for her or
     fetches her himself.... Seldom or never does any young
     girl, residing in his immediate neighborhood, escape
     defilement after attaining the age of puberty (165)."
     "Widows are constantly constrained to be the servants
     of sin" (177).

     "The following singular usage obtains universally ...
     all conjugal intercourse is entirely suspended from the
     time of accouchement until the child be completely
     weaned, which seldom takes place before it is able to
     run about. Hence during the whole of that period, an
     illicit and clandestine intercourse with strangers is
     generally kept up by both parties, to the utter
     subversion of everything like attachment and connubial
     bliss. Something like affection is in some instances
     apparent for awhile, but it is generally of
     comparatively short duration."

Fritsch (95) describes a Kaffir custom called _U'pundhlo_ which has
only lately been abolished:

     "Once in awhile a troupe of young men was sent from the
     principal town to the surrounding country to capture
     all the unmarried girls they could get hold of and
     carry them away forcibly. These girls had to serve for
     awhile as concubines of strangers visiting the court.
     After a few days they were allowed to go and their
     places were taken by other girls captured in the same

Before the Kaffirs came under the influence of civilization, this
custom gave no special offence; "and why should it?" adds Fritsch,
"since with the Kaffirs marriageable girls are morally free and their
purity seems a matter of no special significance." When boys reach the
age of puberty, he says (109), they are circumcised;

     "thereupon, while they are in the transition stage between
     boyhood and manhood, they are almost entirely independent of
     all laws, especially in their sexual relations, so that they
     are allowed to take possession with impunity of any
     unmarried women they choose."

The Kaffirs also indulge in obscene dances and feasts. Warner says
(97) that at the ceremony of circumcision virtue is polluted while yet
in its embryo. "A really pure girl is unknown among the raw Kaffirs,"
writes Hol. "All demoraln sense of purity and shame is lost." While
superstition forbids the marrying of first cousins as incestuous, real
"incest in its worst forms"--between mother and sons--prevails. At the
ceremony called _Ntonjane_ the young girls "are degraded and polluted
at the very threshold of womanhood, and every spark of virtuous
feeling annihilated" (197, 207, 185).

"Immorality," says Fritsch (112),

     "is too deeply rooted in African blood to make it difficult
     to find an occasion for indulging in it; wherefore the
     custom of celebrating puberty, harmless in itself, is made
     the occasion for lascivious practices; the unmarried girls
     choose companions with whom they cohabit as long as the
     festival lasts ... usually three or four days."

After giving other details, Fritsch thus sums up the situation:

     "These diverse facts make it clear that with these tribes
     (Ama-Xosa) woman stands, if not morally, at least
     judicially, little above cattle, and consequently it is
     impossible to speak of family life in one sense of the

In his _Nursery Tales of the Zulus_ (255) Callaway gives an account,
in the native language as well as in the English, of the license
indulged in at Kaffir puberty festivals. Young men assemble from all
quarters. The maidens have a "girl-king" to whom the men are obliged
to give a present before they are allowed to enter the hut chosen for
the meeting. "The young people remain alone and sport after their own
fancies in every way." "It is a day of filthiness in which everything
may be done according to the heart's desire of those who gather around
the _umgongo_." The Rev. J. MacDonald, a man of scientific
attainments, gives a detailed account of the incredibly obscene
ceremonies to which the girls of the Zulu-Kaffirs are subjected, and
the licentious yet Malthusian conduct of the young folks in general
who "separate into pairs and sleep _in puris naturalibus_, for that is
strictly ordained by custom." The father of a girl thus treated feels
honored on receiving a present from her partner.[140]


The utter indifference of the Kaffirs to chastity and their
licentiousness, approved and even prescribed by national custom, were
not the only obstacle to the growth of sentiments rising above mere
sensuality. Commercialism was another fatal obstacle. I have already
quoted Hahn's testimony that a Kaffir "would rather have big herds of
cattle than a good-looking wife." Dohne asserts (Shooter, 88) that "a
Kaffir loves his cattle more than his daughter," and Kay (111) tells
us that

     "he is scarcely ever seen shedding tears, excepting
     when the chief lays violent hands upon some part of his
     horned family; this pierces him to the heart and
     produces more real grief than would be evinced over the
     loss of wife and child."

On another page (85) he says that in time of war the poor women fall
into the enemy's hands, because

     "their husbands afford them no assistance or protection
     whatever. The preservation of the cattle constitutes
     the grand object of their solicitude; and with these,
     which are trained for the purpose, they run at an
     astonishing rate, leaving both wives and children to
     take their chances."

Such being the Kaffir's relative estimation of cows and women, we
might infer that in matrimonial arrangements bovine interests were
much more regarded than any possible sentimental considerations; and
this we find to be the case. Barrow (149) tells us that

     "the females being considered as the property of their
     parents, are always disposed of by sale. The common
     price of a wife is an ox or a couple of cows. Love with
     them is a very confined passion, taking but little hold
     on the mind. When an offer is made for the purchase of
     a daughter, she feels little inclination to refuse; she
     considers herself as an article at market, and is
     neither surprised, nor unhappy, nor interested, on
     being told that she is about to be disposed of. There
     is no previous courtship, no exchange of fine
     sentiments, no nice feelings, no attentions to catch
     the affections and to attach the heart."[141]


The Rev. L. Grout says in his _Zululand_ (166):

     "So long as the government allows the custom called
     _ukulobolisha_, the selling of women in marriage for
     cattle, just so long the richer and so, for the most
     part, the older and the already married man will be
     found, too often, the successful suitor--not indeed at
     the feet of the maiden, for she is allowed little or no
     right to a voice as to whom she shall marry, but at the
     hands of her heathen proprietor, who, in his
     degradation, looks less at the affections and
     preferences of his daughter than at the surest way of
     filling his kraal with cattle, and thus providing for
     buying another wife or two."

So purely commercial is the transaction that if a wife proves very
fruitful and healthy, a demand for more cattle is made on her husband
(165). Should she be feeble or barren he may send her back to her
father and demand compensation. A favorite way is to retain a wife as
a slave and go on marrying other girls as fast as the man's means
allow. Theal says (213) that if a wife has no children the husband has
a right to return her to her parents and if she has a marriageable
sister, take her in exchange. But the acme of commercialism is reached
in a Zulu marriage ceremony described by Shooter. At the wedding the
matrons belonging to the bridegroom's party tell the bride that too
many cows have been given for her; that she is rather plain than
otherwise, and will never be able to do a married woman's work, and
that altogether it is very kind of the bridegroom to condescend to
marry her. Then the bride's friends have their innings. They condole
with her parents on the very inadequate number of cows paid for her,
the loveliest girl in the village; declare that the husband is quite
unworthy of her, and ought to be ashamed for driving such a hard
bargain with her parents.

Leslie's assertion (194) that it is "a mistake to imagine that a girl
is sold by her father in the same manner and with the same authority
with which he would dispose of a cow," is contradicted by the
concurrent testimony of the leading authorities. Some of these have
already been cited. The reliable Fritsch says (112) of the Ama-Xosa

     "It is characteristic that as a rule the inclination of
     the girl to be married is never consulted, but that her
     nearest male relatives select a husband for her to whom
     she is unceremoniously sent. They choose, of course, a
     man who can pay."

If she is a useful girl he is not likely to refuse the offer, yet he
bargains to get her as cheaply as possible (though he knows that a
Kaffir girl's chief pride is the knowledge that many heads of cattle
were paid for her). Regarding the Ama-Zulu, Fritsch says (141-42) that
the women are slaves and a wife is regarded as so much invested
capital. "If she falls ill, or remains childless, so that the man does
not get his money's worth, he often returns her to her father and asks
his cattle back." Older and less attractive women are sometimes
married off on credit, or to be paid for in instalments. "In all
this," Fritsch sums up, "there is certainly little of poetry and
romance, but it cannot be denied that under the influence of European
residents an improvement has been effected in some quarters." He
himself saw at Natal a young couple who "showed a certain interest in
each other," such as one expects of married persons; but in parts
untouched by European influence, he adds, true conjugal devotion is an
unusual thing.


It is probably owing to such European influences that Theal (209)
found that although a woman is not legally supposed to be consulted in
the choice of a husband, in point of fact "matches arising from mutual
love are not uncommon. In such cases, if any difficulties are arranged
by the guardians on either side, the young people do not scruple to
run away together." The word "love" in this passage is of course used
in that vague sense which indicates nothing but a preference of one
man or woman to others. That a Kaffir girl should prefer a young man
to an old suitor to the point of running away with him is to be
expected, even if there is nothing more than a merely sensual
attachment. The question how far there are any amorous preferences
among Kaffirs is an interesting one. From the fact that they prefer
their cows to their wives in moments of danger, we infer that though
they might also like one girl better than another, such preference
would be apt to prove rather weak; and this inference is borne out by
some remarks of the German missionary Alberti which I will translate:

     "The sentiment of tender and chaste love is as unknown
     to the Kaffir as that respect which is founded on
     agreement and moral worth. The need of mutual aid in
     domestic life, combined with the natural instinct for
     the propagation of the species, alone seem to occasion
     a union of young men and women which afterward gains
     permanence through habitual intercourse and a community
     of interests."

     "It is true that the young man commonly seeks to gain
     the favor of the girl he likes before he applies to her
     parents, in which case, if his suit is accepted, the
     supreme favor is at once granted him by the girl; but
     inasmuch as he does not need her good will necessarily,
     the parental consent being sufficient to secure
     possession of her, he shows little zeal, and his peace
     of mind is not in the least disturbed by a possible
     refusal. Altogether, he is much less solicitous about
     gaining her predilection than about getting her for the
     lowest possible price."

Alberti was evidently a thinker as well as a careful observer. His
lucid remarks gives us a deep insight into primitive conditions when
love had hardly yet begun to germinate. What a worldwide difference
between this languid Kaffir wooer, hardly caring whether he gets this
girl or another, and the modern lover who thinks life not worth
living, unless he can gain the love of his chosen one. In all the
literature on the subject, I have been able to find only one case of
stubborn preference among Kaffirs. Neuhaus knew a young man who
refused for two years to marry the girl chosen for him by his father,
and finally succeeded in having his way with another girl whom he
preferred. As a matter of course, strong aversion is more frequently
manifested than decided preference, especially in the case of girls
who are compelled to marry old men. Neuhaus[142] saw a Zulu girl whose
hands had been nearly burned off by her tormentors; he knew of two
girls who committed suicide, one just before, the other just after, an
enforced marriage. Grout (167) speaks of the "various kinds of torture
resorted to by the father and friends of a girl to compel her to marry
contrary to her choice." One girl, who had fled to his house for
refuge, told him repeatedly that if delivered into the hands of her
tormentors "she would be cruelly beaten as soon as they were out of
sight and be subjected to every possible abuse, till she should comply
with the wishes of her proprietor."


Where men are so deficient in sentiment and manly instincts that one
young woman seems to them about as good as another, it is hardly
strange that the women too should lack those qualities of delicacy,
gentleness, and modesty which make the weaker sex adorable. The
description of the bloody duels often fought by Kaffir women given by
the British missionary Beste (Ploss, II., 421) indicates a decidedly
Amazonian disposition. But the most suggestive trait of Kaffir women
is the lack of feminine coyness in their matrimonial preliminaries.
According to Gardiner (97),

     "it is not regarded as a matter either of etiquette or
     of delicacy from which side the proposal of marriage
     may proceed--the overture is as often made by the women
     as the men."

"Courtship," says Shooter (50), "does not always begin with the men."
Sometimes the girl's father proposes for her; and when a young woman
does not receive an early proposal, her father or brother go from
kraal to kraal and offer her till a bidder is found. Callaway (60)
relates that when a young Zulu woman is ready to be married she goes
to the kraal of the bridegroom, to stand there. She remains without
speaking, but they understand her. If they "acknowledge" her, a goat
is killed and she is entertained. If they do not like her, they give
her a burning piece of firewood, to intimate that there is no fire in
that kraal to warm herself by; she must go and kindle a fire for


Though in all this there is considerable romance, there is no evidence
of romantic love. But how about love-charms, poems, and stories?
According to Grout (171), love-charms are not unknown in Zulu land.
They are made of certain herbs or barks, reduced to a powder, and sent
by the hand of some unsuspected friend to be given in a pinch of
snuff, deposited in the dress, or sprinkled upon the person of the
party whose favor is to be won. But love-powders argue a very
materialistic way of regarding love and tell us nothing about
sentiments. A hint at something more poetic is given by the Rev. J.
Tyler (61), who relates that flowers are often seen on Zulu heads, and
that one of them, the "love-making posy," is said to foster "love."
Unfortunately that is all the information he gives us on this
particular point, and the further details supplied by him (120-22)
dash all hopes of finding traces of sentiment. The husband "eats
alone," and when the wife brings him a drink of home-made beer "she
must first sip to show there is no 'death in the pot.'" While he
guzzles beer, loafs, smokes, and gossips, she has to do all the work
at home as well as in the field, carrying her child on her back and
returning in the evening with a bundle of firewood on her head. "In
the winter the natives assemble almost daily for drinking and dancing,
and these orgies are accompanied by the vilest obscenities and evil

As regards poems Wallaschek remarks (6) that "the Kaffir in his poetry
only recognizes a threefold subject: war, cattle, and excessive
adulation of his ruler." One Kaffir love-poem, or rather
marriage-poem, I have been able to find (Shooter, 236), and it is
delightfully characteristic:

     We tell you to dig well,
     Come, girl of ours,
     Bring food and eat it;
     Fetch fire-wood
     And don't be lazy.


Among the twenty-one tales collected in Theal's _Kaffir Folk Lore_
there is one which approximates what we call a love-story. As it takes
up six pages of his book it cannot be quoted entire, but in the
following condensed version I have retained every detail that is
pertinent to our inquiry. It is entitled _The Story of Mbulukazi_.

     There was once a man who had two wives; one of them had
     no children, wherefore he did not love her. The other
     one had one daughter, who was very black, and several
     children besides, but they were all crows. The barren
     wife was very downcast and often wept all day.

     One day two doves perching near her asked why she
     cried. When they had heard her story they told her to
     bring two earthen jars. Then they scratched her knees
     until the blood flowed, and put it into the jars. Every
     day they came and told her to look in the jars, till
     one day she found in them two beautiful children, a boy
     and a girl. They grew up in her hut, for she lived
     apart from her husband, and he knew nothing of their

     When they were big, they went to the river one day to
     fetch water. On the way they met some young men, among
     whom was Broad Breast, a chief's son who was looking
     for a pretty girl to be his wife. The men asked for a
     drink and the boy gave them all some water, but the
     young chief would take it only from the girl. He was
     very much smitten with her beauty, and watched her to
     see where she lived. He then went home to his father
     and asked for cattle with which to marry her. The
     chief, being rich, gave him many fine cattle, and with
     these the young man went to the husband of the girl's
     mother and said: "I want to marry your daughter." So
     the girl who was very black was told to come, but the
     young chief said: "That is not the one I want; the one
     I saw was lighter in color and much prettier." The
     father replied: "I have no other children but crows."

     But Broad Breast persisted, and finally the
     servant-girl told the father about the other daughter.
     In the evening he went to his neglected wife's hut and
     to his great joy saw the boy and his sister. He
     remained all night and it was agreed that the young
     chief should have the girl. When Broad Breast saw her
     he said: "This is the girl I meant." So he gave the
     cattle to the father and married the girl, whose name
     was Mbulukazi.

     To appease the jealousy of the very black girl's mother
     he also married that girl, and each of them received
     from her father an ox, with which they went to their
     new home. But the young chief did not care for the very
     black girl and gave her an old rickety hut to live in
     while Mbulukazi had a very nice new house. This made
     the other girl jealous, and she plotted revenge, which
     she carried out one day by pushing her rival over the
     edge of a rock, so that she fell into the river and was
     drowned. The corpse was, however, found by her favorite
     ox, who licked her till her life came back, and as soon
     as she was strong once more she told what had happened.

     When the young chief heard the story he was angry with
     the dark wife and said to her: "Go home to your father;
     I never wanted you at all; it was your mother who
     brought you to me." So she had to go away in sorrow and
     Mbulukazi remained the great wife of the chief.

In this interesting story there are two suspicious details. Theal says
he has taken care in his collection not to give a single sentence that
did not come from native sources. He calls attention, however, to the
fact that tens of thousands of Kaffirs have adopted the religion of
Europeans and have accepted ideas from their teachers, wherefore "it
will surprise no one to learn that these tales are already undergoing
great changes among a very large section of the natives on the
border." I suspect that the touch of sentiment in the place where the
young chief will accept a drink from the girl's hand alone is such a
case of European influence, and so, in all probability is the
preference for a light complexion implied in the tale; for Shooter (p.
I) tells us expressly that to be told that he is light-colored "would
be esteemed a very poor compliment by a Kaffir."

The following passage, which occurs in another of Theal's stories
(107), shows how unceremonious Kaffir "courtship" is in relation to
the girl's wishes.

     "Hlakanyana met a girl herding some goats.

     "He said: 'Where are the boys of your village, that the
     goats are herded by a girl?'

     "The girl answered: 'There are no boys in the village.'

     "He went to the father of the girl and said: 'You must
     give me your daughter to be my concubine, and I will
     herd the goats.'

     "The father of the girl agreed to that. Then Hlakanyana
     went with the goats, and every day he killed one and
     ate it till all were done."


If we now leave the degraded and licentious Kaffirs, going northward
in Eastern Africa, into the region of the lakes--Nyassa, Victoria
Nyanza and Albert Nyanza--embracing British Central, German East, and
British East Africa, we are doomed to disappointment if we expect to
find conditions more favorable to the growth of refined romantic or
conjugal love. We shall not only discover no evidence of what is
vaguely called Platonic love, but we shall find men ignoring even
Plato's injunction (_Laws_, VIII., 840) that they should not be lower
than beasts, which do not mate till they have reached the age of
maturity. H.H. Johnston, in his recent work on British Central Africa,
gives some startling revelations of aboriginal depravity. As these
regions have been known a few years only, the universality of this
depravity disproves most emphatically the ridiculous notion that
savages are naturally pure in their conduct and owe their degradation
to intercourse with corrupt white men. Johnston (409) says:

     "A medical missionary who was at work for some time on
     the west coast of Lake Nyassa gave me information
     regarding the depravity prevalent among the young boys
     in the Atonga tribe of a character not even to be
     described in obscure Latin. These statements might be
     applied with almost equal exactitude to boys and girls
     in many other parts of Africa. As regards the little
     girls, over nearly the whole of British Central Africa,
     chastity before puberty is an unknown condition....
     Before a girl becomes a woman (that is to say, before
     she is able to conceive), it is a matter of absolute
     indifference what she does, and scarcely any girl
     remains a virgin after about five years of age."

Girls are often betrothed at birth, or even before, and when four or
five years old are placed at the mercy of the degraded husbands.
Capture is another method of getting a wife, and Johnston's
description of this custom indicates that individual preference is as
weak as we have found it among Kaffirs:

     "The women as a rule make no very great resistance on
     these occasions. It is almost like playing a game. A
     woman is surprised as she goes to get water at the
     stream, or when she is on her way to or from the
     plantation. The man has only got to show her she is
     cornered and that escape is not easy or pleasant and
     she submits to be carried off. Of course there are
     cases where the woman takes the first opportunity of
     running back to her first husband if her captor treats
     her badly, and again she may be really attached to her
     first husband and make every effort to return to him
     for that reason. But as a general rule they seem to
     accept very cheerfully these abrupt changes in their
     matrimonial existence."

In a footnote he adds:

     "The Rev. Duff Macdonald, a competent authority on Yao
     manners and customs, says in his book _Africana_: 'I was
     told ... that a native man would not pass a solitary woman,
     and that her refusal of him would be so contrary to custom
     that he might kill her.' Of course this would apply only to
     females that are not engaged."


Of the Taveita forest region Johnston says:

     "After marriage the greatest laxity of manners is allowed
     among the women, who often court their lovers under their
     husband's gaze; provided the lover pays, no objection is
     raised to his addresses."

And regarding the Masai (415):

     "The Masai men rarely marry until they are twenty-five nor
     the women until twenty. But both sexes, _avant de se
     ranger_, lead a very dissolute life before marriage, the
     young warriors and unmarried girls living together in free

The fullest account of the Masai and their neighbors we owe to
Thomson. With the M-teita marriage is entirely a question of cows.

     "There is a very great disproportion between the sexes, the
     female predominating greatly, and yet very few of the young
     men are able to marry for want of the proper number of
     cows--a state of affairs which not unfrequently leads to
     marriage with sisters, though this practice is highly

Of the Wa-taveta, Thomson says (113): "Conjugal fidelity is unknown,
and certainly not expected on either side; they might almost be
described as colonies of free lovers." As for life among the Masai
warriors, he says (431) that it

     "was promiscuous in a remarkable degree. They may
     indeed be proclaimed as a colony of free lovers.
     Curiously enough the sweetheart system was largely in
     vogue; though no one confined his or her attentions to
     one only. Each girl in fact had several sweethearts,
     and what is still stranger, this seemed to give rise to
     no jealousies. The most perfect equality prevailed
     between the Ditto and Elmoran, and in their savage
     circumstances it was really pleasant to see how common
     it was for a young girl to wander about the camp with
     her arm round the waist of a stalwart warrior."[144]


Crossing the waters of the Victoria Nyanza we come to Uganda, a region
which has been entertainingly described by Speke. One day, he tells us
(379), he was crossing a swamp with the king and his wives:

     "The bridge was broken, as a matter of course; and the
     logs which composed it, lying concealed beneath the
     water, were toed successively by the leading men, that
     those who followed should not be tripped up by them.
     This favor the King did for me, and I in return for the
     women behind; they had never been favored in their
     lives with such gallantry and therefore could not
     refrain from laughing. He afterward helped the girls
     over a brook. The king noticed it, but instead of
     upbraiding me, passed it off as a joke, and running up
     to the Kamraviona, gave him a poke in the ribs and
     whispered what he had seen, as if it had been a secret.
     'Woh, woh!' says the Kamraviona, 'what wonders will
     happen next?'"

There is perhaps no part of Africa where such an act of gallantry
would not have been laughed at as an absurd prank. In Eastern Central

     "when a woman meets any man on the path, the etiquette is
     for her to go off the path, to kneel, and clasp her hands to
     the 'lords of creation' as they pass. Even if a female
     possesses male slaves of her own she observes the custom
     when she meets them on the public highway. A woman always
     kneels when she has occasion to talk to a man" (Macdonald,
     I., 129).

"It is interesting to meet a couple returning from a journey for
firewood," says the same writer (137). "The man goes first, carrying
his gun, bow and arrows, while the woman carries the invariable bundle
of firewood on her head." He used to amuse such parties by taking the
wife's load and putting it on the husband, telling him, 'This is the
custom in our country.' The wife has to do not only all the domestic
but all the hard field work, and the only thing the lazy husband does
in return is to mend her clothes. That constitutes her "rights;"
neglect of it is a cause for divorce! Burton notes the absence of
chivalrous ideas among the Somals (_F.F._, 122), adding that

     "on first entering the nuptial hut, the bridegroom draws
     forth his horsewhip and inflicts memorable chastisement upon
     the fair person of his bride, with the view of taming any
     lurking propensity to shrewishness."

Among the natives of Massua, on the eighth of the month of Ashur,
"boys are allowed," says Munzinger,

     "to mercilessly whip any girl they may meet--a liberty
     of which they make use in anything but a sentimental
     way. As the girls naturally hide themselves in their
     houses on this day, the boys disguise themselves as
     beggars, or use some other ruse to get them out."

Adults sometimes take part in this gallant sport. But let us return to

The Queen of Uganda offered Speke the choice between two of her
daughters as a wife. The girls were brought and made to squat in front
of him. They had never seen him.

     "The elder, who was in the prime of youth and beauty,
     very large of limb, dark in color, cried considerably;
     whilst the younger one ... laughed as if she thought
     the change in her destiny very good fun."

He had been advised that when the marriage came off he was to chain
the girl two or three days, until she became used to him, else, from
mere fright, she might run away.

A high official also bestowed on him a favor which throws light on the
treatment of Uganda women. He had his women come in, made them strip
to the waist, and asked Speke what he thought of them. He assured him
he had paid him an unusual compliment, the Uganda men being very
jealous of one another, so much so that anyone would be killed if
found staring upon a woman, even in the highways. Speke asked him what
use he had for so many women, to which he replied,

     "None whatever; the King gives them to us to keep up
     our rank, sometimes as many as one hundred together,
     and we either turn them into wives, or make servants of
     them, as we please."


The northeastern boundary of Uganda is formed by the waters of the
lake whose name Sir Samuel Baker chose for the title of one of his
fascinating books on African travel, the _Albert N'yanza_. Baker was a
keen observer and he had abundant experience on which to base the
following conclusions (148):

     "There is no such thing as love in these countries, the
     feeling is not understood, nor does it exist in the
     shape in which we understand it. Everything is
     practical, without a particle of romance. Women are so
     far appreciated as they are valuable animals. They
     grind the corn, fetch the water, gather firewood,
     cement the floors, cook the food, and propagate the
     race; but they are mere servants, and as such are
     valuable.... A savage holds to his cows and to his
     women, but especially to his cows. In a razzia fight he
     will seldom stand for the sake of his wives, but when
     he does fight it is to save his cattle."

The sentimentalist's heart will throb with a flutter of hope when he
reads in the same book (240) that among the Latookas it is considered
a disgrace to kill a woman in war. Have these men that respect for
women which makes romantic love possible? Alas, no! They spare them
because women are scarce and have a money value, a female being worth
from five to ten cows, according to her age and appearance. It would
therefore be a waste of money to kill them.

I may as well add here what Baker says elsewhere (_Ismailia_, 501) by
way of explaining why there is no insanity in Central Africa: there
are "no hearts to break with overwhelming love." Where coarseness is
bliss, 'twere folly to be refined.


Let us now cross Central Africa into the Congo region on the Western
side, returning afterward to the East for a bird's-eye view of the
Abyssinians, the Somali, and their neighbors.

In his book _Angola and the River Congo_ (133-34) Monteiro says that
negroes show less tenderness and love than some animals:

     "In all the long years I have been in Africa I have
     never seen a negro manifest the least tenderness for or
     to a negress.... I have never seen a negro put his arm
     round a woman's waist or give or receive any caress
     whatever that would indicate the slightest loving
     regard or affection on either side. They have no words
     or expressions in their language indicative of
     affection or love. Their passion is purely of an animal
     description, unaccompanied by the least sympathetic
     affections of love or endearment."[145]

In other words, these negroes not only do not show any tenderness,
affection, sympathy, in their sexual relations, they are too coarse
even to appreciate the more subtle manifestations of sensual passion
which we call caresses. Jealousy, too, Monteiro says, hardly exists.
In case of adultery "the fine is generally a pig, and rum or other
drink, with which a feast is celebrated by all parties. The woman is
not punished in any way, nor does any disgrace attach to her conduct."
As a matter of course, where all these sentiments are lacking,
admiration of personal beauty cannot exist.

     "From their utter want of love and appreciation of female
     beauty or charms they are quite satisfied and content with
     any woman possessing even the greatest amount of hideous
     ugliness with which nature has so bountifully provided


Thus we find the African mind differing from ours as widely as a
picture seen directly with the eyes differs from one reflected in a
concave mirror. This is vividly illustrated by a quaint story recorded
in the _Folk Tales of Angola_ (_Memoirs of Amer. Folk Lore Soc._, Vol.
I., 1804, 235-39), of which the following is a condensed version:

     An elderly man had an only child, a daughter. This
     daughter, a number of men wanted her. But whenever a
     suitor came, her father demanded of him a living deer;
     and then they all gave up, saying, "The living deer, we
     cannot get it."

     One day two men came, each asking for the daughter. The
     father answered as usual, "He who brings me the living
     deer; the same, I will give him my daughter."

     The two men made up their minds to hunt for the living
     deer in the forest. They came across one and pursued
     it; but one of them soon got tired and said to himself:
     "That woman will destroy my life. Shall I suffer
     distress because of a woman? If I bring her home, if
     she dies, would I seek another? I will not run again to
     catch a living deer. I never saw it, that a girl was
     wooed with a living deer." And he gave up the chase.

     The other man persevered and caught the deer. When he
     approached with it, his companion said, "Friend, the
     deer, didst thou catch it indeed?" Then the other: "I
     caught it. The girl delights me much. Rather I would
     sleep in forest, than to fail to catch it."

     Then they returned to the father and brought him the
     deer. But the father called four old men, told them
     what had happened, and asked them to choose a
     son-in-law for him among the two hunters. Being
     questioned by the aged men, the successful hunter said:
     "My comrade pursued and gave up; I, your daughter
     charmed me much, even to the heart, and I pursued the
     deer till it gave in.... My comrade he came only to
     accompany me."

     Then the other was asked why he gave up the chase, if
     he wanted the girl, and he replied: "I never saw that
     they wooed a girl with a deer.... When I saw the great
     running I said, 'No, that woman will cost my life.
     Women are plentiful,' and I sat down to await my

     Then the aged men: "Thou who gavest up catching the
     deer, thou art our son-in-law. This gentleman who
     caught the deer, he may go with it; he may eat it or he
     may sell it, for he is a man of great heart. If he
     wants to kill he kills at once; he does not listen to
     one who scolds him, or gives him advice. Our daughter,
     if we gave her to him, and she did wrong, when he would
     beat her he would not hear (one) who entreats for her.
     We do not want him; let him go. This gentleman who gave
     up the deer, he is our son-in-law; because, our
     daughter, when she does wrong, when we come to pacify
     him, he will listen to us. Although he were in great
     anger, when he sees us, his anger will cease. He is our
     good son-in-law, whom we have chosen."


According to Livingstone, in Angola suicide is sometimes committed by
a girl if it is predicted to her that she will never have any
children, which would be a great disgrace. A writer in the _Globus_
(Vol. 69, p. 358) sums up the observations of the medical missionary,
G. Liengme, on suicides among the peoples of Africa. The most frequent
cause is a family quarrel. Sometimes a girl commits suicide rather
than marry a man whom she detests, "whereas on the other hand suicide
from unhappy love seems to be unknown." In another number of the
_Globus_ (70: 100), however, I find mention of a negro who killed
himself because he could not get the girl he wanted. This, of course,
does not of itself suffice to prove the existence of true love, for we
know that lust may be as maddening and as obstinate as love itself;
moreover, as we shall see in the chapter on American Indians, suicide
does not argue strong feelings, but a weak intellect. Savages are apt
to kill themselves, as we shall see, on the slightest and most trivial


In his entertaining book on the Congo, H.H. Johnston says (423) of the
races living along the upper part of that river: "They are decidedly
amorous in disposition, but there is a certain poetry in their
feelings which ennobles their love above the mere sexual lust of the
negro." If this is true, it is one of the most important discoveries
ever made by an African explorer, one on which we should expect the
author to dwell at great length. What does he tell us about the Congo
tribes? "The women," he says of the Ba-Kongo, "have little regard for
their virtue, either before or after marriage, and but for the
jealousy of the men there would be promiscuous intercourse between the
sexes." These women, he says, rate it as especially honorable to be a
white man's mistress:

     "Moreover, though the men evince some marital jealousy
     among themselves, they are far from displaying anything
     but satisfaction when a European is induced to accept
     the loan of a wife, either as an act of hospitality or
     in consideration of some small payment. Unmarried girls
     they are more chary of offering, as their value in the
     market is greater; but it may be truly said that among
     these people womanly chastity is unknown and a woman's
     honor is measured by the price she costs."

These remarks, it is true, refer to the lower Congo, and it is only of
the upper river that Johnston predicates the poetic features which
ennoble love. Stanley Pool being accepted by him as the dividing line,
we may there perhaps begin our search for romantic love. One day, the
author relates, rain had driven him to a hut on the shore of the Pool,
where there was a family with two marriageable daughters. The father

     "was most anxious I should become his son-in-law,
     'moyennant' several 'longs' of cloth. Seeing my
     hesitation, he mistook it for scorn and hastened to
     point out the manifold charms of his girls, whilst
     these damsels waxed hotly indignant at my coldness.
     Then another inspiration seized their father--perhaps I
     liked a maturer style of beauty, and his wife, by no
     means an uncomely person, was dragged forward while her
     husband explained with the most expressive gestures,
     putting his outspread hands before his eyes and
     affecting to look another way, that, again with the
     simple intermediary of a little cloth, he would remain
     perfectly unconscious of whatever amatory passages
     might occur between us."

Evidently the poetry of love had not drifted down as far as the Pool.
Let us therefore see what Johnston has to say of the Upper Congo

     "Husbands are fond of their own wives, _as well as of those
     of other people_." "Marriage is _a mere question of
     purchase_, and is attended by no rejoicings or special
     ceremony. A man procures _as many wives as possible_, partly
     because they labor for him and also because soon after one
     wife becomes with child _she leaves him for two or three
     years_ until her baby is weaned." Apart from these facts
     Johnston gives us no hint as to what he understands by
     affection except what the following sentence allows us to
     infer (429):

     "The attachment between these dogs and their African
     masters is deep and fully reciprocated. They are
     _considered very dainty eating_ by the natives, and are
     indeed such a luxury that by an unwritten law only _the
     superior sex_--the men--are allowed to partake of
     roasted dog."

The amusing italics are mine.

If Johnston really found traces of poetic, ennobling love in this
region, surely so startling a novelty in West Africa would have called
for a full "bill of particulars," which would have been of infinitely
greater scientific value than the details he gives regarding
unchastity, infidelity, commercialism, separation from wives and
contempt for women, which are so common throughout the continent as to
call for no special notice. Evidently his ideas regarding "poetic
love" were as hazy as those of some other writers quoted in this
chapter, and we have once more been led on by the mirage of a "false

In 1891 the Swedish explorer Westermarck published a book describing
his adventures among the cannibal tribes of the Upper Congo. I have
not seen the book, but the Rev. James Johnston, in summing up its
contents, says (193):

     "A man can sell wife and children according to his own
     depraved pleasure. Women are the slave drudges, the men
     spending their hours in eating, drinking, and sleeping.
     Cannibalism in its worst features prevails. Young women
     are prized as special delicacies, particularly girls'
     ears prepared in palm oil, and, in order to make the
     flesh more palatable, the luckless victims are kept in
     water up to their necks for three or four days before
     they are slaughtered and served as food."


From the banks of the Congo to Kamerun is not a very far cry as
distances go in Africa. Kamerun is under the German flag, and a German
writer, Hugo Zöller, has described life in that colony with the eyes
of a shrewd observer. What he says about the negro's capacity for love
shows deep psychological insight (III., 68-70):

     "Europeans residing in Africa who have married a negro
     woman declare unanimously that there is no such thing
     there as love and fidelity in the European sense. It
     happens with infinitely greater frequency that a
     European falls in love with his black companion than
     she with him; or rather the latter does not happen at
     all. A hundred times I have listened to discussions of
     this topic in many different places, but I have never
     heard of a single case of a genuine full-blooded
     negress falling in love with a white man.... The
     stupidest European peasant girl is, in comparison with
     an African princess, still an ideally endowed being."

Zöller adds that in all his African experiences he never found a
negress of whom he should have been willing to assume that she would
sacrifice herself for a man she was attached to. On another page he

     "A negro woman does not fall in love in the same sense
     as a European, not even as the least civilized peasant
     girl. Love, in our sense of the word, is a product of
     our culture belonging to a higher stage in the
     development of latent faculties than the negro race has
     reached. Not only is the negro a stranger to the
     diverse intellectual and sentimental qualities which we
     denote by the name of love: nay, even in a purely
     bodily sense it may be asserted that his nervous system
     is not only less sensitive, but less well-developed.
     The negro loves as he eats and drinks.... And just as
     little as a black epicure have I ever been able to
     discover a negro who could rise to the imaginative
     phases of amorous dalliance. A negro ... may buy dozens
     upon dozens of wives without ever being drawn by an
     overpowering feeling to any one of them. Love is, among
     the blacks, as much a matter of money as the palm oil
     or ivory trade. The black man buys his wife when she is
     still a child; when she reaches the age at which our
     maidens go to their first ball, her nervous system,
     which never was particularly sensitive anyway, is
     completely blunted, so that she takes it as a matter of
     course to be sold again and again as a piece of
     property. One hears often enough of a 'woman palaver,'
     which is regarded exactly like a 'goat palaver,' as a
     damage to property, but one never, positively never,
     hears of a love-affair. The negress never has a
     sweetheart, either in her youngest days or after her
     so-called marriage. She is regarded, and regards
     herself, as a piece of property and a beast of burden."


Travelling a short distance northwest from Kamerun we reach the Slave
Coast of West Africa, to which A.B. Ellis has devoted two interesting
books, including chapters in the folklore of the Yoruba and
Ewe-speaking peoples of this region. Among the tales recorded are two
which illustrate African ideas regarding love. I copy the first
verbatim from Ellis's book on the Yoruba (269-70):

     "There was a young maiden named Buje, the slender, whom
     all the men wanted. The rich wanted her, but she
     refused. Chiefs wanted her, and she refused. The King
     wanted her, and she still refused.

     "Tortoise came to the King and said to him, 'She whom
     you all want and cannot get, I will get. I will have
     her, I.' And the King said, 'If you succeed in having
     her, I will divide my palace into two halves and will
     give you one-half.'

     "One day Buje, the slender, took an earthen pot and
     went to fetch water. Tortoise, seeing this, took his
     hoe, and cleared the path that led to the spring. He
     found a snake in the grass, and killed it. Then he put
     the snake in the middle of the path.

     "When Buje, the slender, had filled her pot, she came
     back. She saw the snake in the path, and called out,
     'Hi! hi! Come and kill this snake.'

     "Tortoise ran up with his cutlass in his hand. He
     struck at the snake and wounded himself in the leg.

     "Then he cried out, 'Buje the slender, has killed me. I
     was cutting the bush, I was clearing the path for her.
     She called to me to kill the snake, but I have wounded
     myself in the leg. O Buje, the slender, Buje, the
     slender, take me upon your back and hold me close.'

     "He cried this many times, and at last Buje, the
     slender, took Tortoise and put him on her back. And
     then he slipped his legs down over her hips....

     "Next day, as soon as it was light, Tortoise went to
     the King. He said, 'Did I not tell you I should have
     Buje, the slender? Call all the people of the town to
     assemble on the fifth day, and you will hear what I
     have to say.'

     "When it was the fifth day, the King sent out his crier
     to call all the people together. The people came.
     Tortoise cried out, 'Everybody wanted Buje, the
     slender, and Buje refused everybody, but I have had

     "The King sent a messenger, with his stick, to summon
     Buje, the slender. When she came the King said, 'We
     have heard that Tortoise is your husband; is it so?'

     "Buje, the slender, was ashamed, and could not answer.
     She covered her head with her cloth, and ran away into
     the bush.

     "And there she was changed into the plant called Buje."


Robert Hartmann (480) describes the Yoruba people as vivacious and
intelligent. But the details given by Ellis (154) regarding the
peculiar functions of bridesmaids, and the assertion that "virginity
in a bride is only of paramount importance when the girl has been
betrothed in childhood," explain sufficiently why we must not look for
sentimental features in a Yoruba love-story. The most noticeable thing
in the above tale is the girl's power to refuse chiefs and even the
King. In Ellis's book on the Ewe-speaking peoples of the Slave Coast,
there is also a love-story (271) concerning a "Maiden who always
refused." It has a moral which seems to indicate masculine disapproval
of such a feminine privilege. The following is a condensed version:

     There was a beautiful girl whose parents were rich. Men
     came to marry her, but she always said "Not yet." Men
     continued to come, but she said "My shape is good, my
     skin is good, therefore I shall stay;" and she stayed.

     Now the leopard, in the leopard's place, hears this. He
     turns himself to resemble man. He takes a musical
     instrument in his hand and makes himself a fine young
     man. His shape is good. Then he goes to the parents of
     the maiden and says, "I look strong and manly, but I do
     not look stronger than I love." Then the father says,
     "Who looks strong takes;" and the young man says, "I am

     The young man comes in the house. His shape pleases the
     young girl. They give him to eat and they give him to
     drink. Then the young man asks the maiden if she is
     ready to go, and the maiden says she is ready to go.
     Her parents give her two female slaves to take along,
     and goats, sheep, and fowls. Ere long, as they travel
     along the road, the husband says, "I am hungry." He
     eats the fowls, but is still hungry: he eats the goats
     and sheep and is hungry still. The two slaves next fall
     a victim to his voracity, and then he says, "I am

     Then the wife weeps and cries aloud and throws herself
     on the ground. Immediately the leopard, having resumed
     his own shape, makes a leap toward her. But there is a
     hunter concealed in the bush; he has witnessed the
     scene; he aims his gun and kills the leopard on the
     leap. Then he cuts off his tail and takes the young
     woman home.

     "This is the way of young women," the tale concludes.
     "The young men come to ask; the young women meet them,
     and continue to refuse--again, again, again--and so the
     wild animals turn themselves into men and carry them


While the main object of this discussion is to show that Africans are
incapable of feeling sentimental love, I have taken the greatest pains
to discover such traces of more refined feelings as may exist. These
one might expect to find particularly in the collections of African
tales such as Callaway's _Nursery Tales of the Zulus_, Theal's _Kaffir
Folk Lore_, the _Folk Lore of Angola_, Stanley's _My Dark Companions
and their Stories_, Koelle's _African Native Literature_, Jacottet's
_Contes Populaires des Bassoutos_. All that I have been able to find
in these books and others bearing on our topic is included in this
chapter--and how very little it is! Love, even of the sensual kind,
seems to be almost entirely ignored by these dusky story-tellers in
favor of a hundred other subjects--in striking contrast to our own
literature, in which love is the ruling passion. I have before me
another interesting collection of South and North African stories and
fables--Bleek's _Reinecke Fuchs in Afrika_. Its author had unusual
facilities for collecting them, having been curator of Sir G. Grey's
library at Cape Town, which includes a fine collection of African
manuscripts. In Bleek's book there are forty-four South African,
chiefly Hottentot, fables and tales, and thirty-nine relating to North
Africans. Yet among these eighty-three tales there are only three that
come under the head of love-stories. As they take up eight pages, I
can give only a condensed version of them, taking care, however, to
omit no essential feature.[147]


     Four handsome youths tried to win a beautiful girl
     living in the same town. While they were quarrelling
     among themselves a youth came from another town, lifted
     the girl on his horse and galloped away with her. The
     father followed in pursuit on his camel, entered the
     youth's house, and brought back the girl.

     One day the father called together all the men of his
     tribe. The girl stepped among them and said, "Whoever
     of you can ride on my father's camel without falling
     off, may have me as wife." Dressed in their best
     finery, the young men tried, one after another, but
     were all thrown. Among them sat the stranger youth,
     wrapped only in a mat. Turning toward him the girl
     said, "Let the stranger make a trial." The men
     demurred, but the stranger got on the camel, rode about
     the party three times safely, and when he passed the
     girl for the fourth time he snatched her up and rode
     away with her hastily.

     Quickly the father mounted his fleet horse and followed
     the fugitives. He gained on them until his horse's head
     touched the camel's tail. At that moment the youth
     reached his home, jumped off the camel and carried the
     bride into the house. He closed the door so violently
     that one foot of the pursuing horse caught between the
     posts. The father drew it out with difficulty and
     returned to the four disappointed suitors.


     A king had a beautiful daughter and many desired to
     marry her. But all failed, because none could answer
     the King's question: "What is enclosed in my amulet?"
     Undismayed by the failure of men of wealth and rank,
     Tamba, who lived far in the East and had nothing to
     boast of, made up his mind to win the princess. His
     friends laughed at him but he started out on his trip,
     taking with him some chickens, a goat, rice,
     rice-straw, millet-seed, and palm-oil. He met in
     succession a hungry porcupine, an alligator, a horned
     viper, and some ants, of all of whom he made friends by
     feeding them the things he had taken along. He reserved
     some of the rice, and when he arrived at the King's
     court he gave it to a hungry servant who in turn told
     him the secret of the amulet. So when he was asked what
     the amulet contained, he replied: "Hair clipped from
     the King's head when he was a child; a piece of the
     calabash from which he first drank milk; and the tooth
     of the first snake he killed."

     This answer angered the King's minister, and Tamba was
     put in chains. He was subjected to various tests which
     he overcame with the aid of the animals he had fed on
     his trip. But again he was fettered and even lashed.

     One day the King wanted to bathe, so he sent his four
     wives to fetch water. A young girl accompanying them
     saw how all of them were bitten by a horned viper and
     ran back to tell the news. The wives were brought back
     unconscious, and no one could help them. The King then
     thought of Tamba, who was brought before him. Tamba
     administered an antidote which the viper he had fed had
     given him, the wives recovered, the wicked minister was
     beheaded and Tamba was rewarded with the hand of the


The third tale is herewith translated verbatim:

     "There was a man who had a most beautiful daughter, the
     favorite of all the young men of the place; two,
     especially, tried to win her regard. One day these two
     came together and begged her to choose one of them. The
     young girl called her father; when the young men had
     told him that they were suing for his daughter's hand,
     he requested them to come there the next day, when he
     would set them a task and the one who got through with
     it first should have the girl.

     "Meanwhile the father bought in the market a piece of
     cloth and cut it up for two garments. Now when the two
     rivals appeared the next morning he gave to each the
     materials for a garment and told them to sew them
     together, promising his daughter to the one who should
     get done first. The daughter he ordered to thread the
     needles for both the men.

     "Now the girl knew very well which of the two young men
     she would rather have for a husband; to him, therefore,
     she always handed needles with short threads, while the
     other was always supplied with long threads. Noon came
     and neither of them had finished his garment. After
     awhile, however, the one who always got the short
     threads finished his task.

     "The father was then summoned and the young man showed
     him the garment; whereupon the father said: 'You are a
     quick worker and will therefore surely be able to
     support your wife. Take my daughter as your wife and
     always do your work rapidly, then you will always have
     food for yourself and your wife.'

     "Thus did the young man win his beloved by means of her
     cunning. Joyfully he led her home as his wife."


This tale reveals the existence of individual preference, but does not
hint at any other ingredient of love, while the father's promise of
the girl to the fastest worker shows a total indifference to what that
preference might be. In the following tale (also from Koelle) the girl
again is not consulted.

     "A certain man had a most beautiful daughter who was
     beset by many suitors. But as soon as they were told
     that the sole condition on which they could obtain her
     was to bale out a brook with a ground-nut shell (which
     is about half the size of a walnut shell), they always
     walked away in disappointment. However, at last one
     took heart of grace, and began the task. He obtained
     the beauty; for the father said, '_Kam ago tsuru
     baditsia tsido_--he who undertakes whatever he says,
     will do it.'"


The last two tales I have cited were gathered among the Bornu people
in the Soudan. In Burton's _Wit and Wisdom from West Africa_ we find a
few proverbs about women that are current in the same region.

     "If a woman speaks two words, take one and leave the other."
     "Whatever be thy intimacy, never give thy heart to a woman."
     "If thou givest thy heart to a woman, she will kill thee."
     "If a man tells his secrets to his wife, she will bring him
     into the way of Satan." "A woman never brings a man into the
     right way." "Men who listen to what women say, are counted
     as women."

It is significant that in the four hundred and fifty-five pages of
Burton's book, which includes over four hundred proverbs and tales,
there are only half a dozen brief references to women, and those are


As I have had occasion to remark before, African women lack the finer
feminine qualities, both bodily and mental, wherefore even if an
African man were able to feel sentimental love he could not find an
object to bestow it on. An incident related by Du Chaillu (_Ashango
Land_, 187) illustrates the martial side of African femininity. A
married man named Mayolo had called another man's wife toward him. His
own wife, hearing of this, got jealous, told him the other must be his
sweetheart, and rushed out to seek her rival. A battle ensued:

     "Women's fights in this country always begin by their
     throwing off their _dengui_--that is, stripping
     themselves entirely naked. The challenger having thus
     denuded herself, her enemy showed pluck and answered
     the challenge by promptly doing the same; so that the
     two elegant figures immediately went at it literally
     tooth and nail, for they fought like cats, and between
     the rounds reviled each other in language the most
     filthy that could possibly be uttered. Mayolo being
     asleep in his house, and no one seeming ready to
     interfere, I went myself and separated the two furies."

In Dahomey, as everybody knows, the bellicose possibilities of the
African woman have been utilized in forming bands of Amazons which are
described as "the flower of the army." They are made up of female
captives and other women, wear special uniforms, and in battle are
credited with even greater ferocity than the men. These women are
Amazons not of their own accord but by order of the king. But in other
parts of Africa there is reason to believe that bands of
self-constituted female warriors have existed at various times.
Diodorus Siculus, who lived in the time of Julius Caesar, says that on
the western coast of Libya (Africa) there used to live a people
governed by women, who carried on wars and the government, the men
being obliged to do domestic work and take care of the children. In
our time Livingstone found in the villages of the Bechuanas and Banyas
that men were often badly treated by the women, and the eminent German
anthropologist Bastian says(_S.S._, 178) that in "the Soudan the power
of the women banded together for mutual protection is so great that
men are often put under ban and obliged to emigrate." Mungo Park
described the curious bugaboo(_mumbo-jumbo_)by means of which the
Mandingo negroes used to keep their rebellious women in subjection.
According to Bastian, associations for keeping women in subjection are
common among men along the whole African West Coast. The women, too,
have their associations, and at their meetings compare notes on the
meanness and cruelty of their husbands. Now it is easy to conceive
that among tribes where many of the men have been killed off in wars
the women, being in a great majority, may, for a time at least, turn
the tables on the men, assume their weapons and make them realize how
it feels to be the "inferior sex." For this reason Bastian sees no
occasion to share the modern disposition to regard all the Amazon
legends as myths.


If we now return from the West Coast to Eastern Africa we find on the
northern confines of Abyssinia a strange case of the subjection of
men, which Munzinger has described in his _Ostafrikanische Studien_
(275-338). The Beni Amer are a tribe of Mohammedan shepherds among
whom "the sexes seem to have exchanged rôles, the women being more
masculine in their work." Property is legally held in common,
wherefore the men rarely dare to do anything without consulting their
wives. In return for this submission they are treated with the utmost

     "For every angry word that the husband utters he is
     compelled to pay a fine, and perhaps spend a whole
     rainy night outdoors till he has promised to give his
     weaker half a camel and a cow. Thus the wife acquires a
     property of her own, which the husband never is allowed
     to touch; many women have in this way ruined their
     husbands and then left them. The women have much
     _esprit de corps_; if one of them has ground for
     complaint, all the others come to her aid.... Of course
     the man is always found in the wrong; the whole village
     is in a turmoil. This _esprit de corps_ demands that
     every woman, whether she loves her husband or not, must
     conceal her love and treat him contemptuously. It is
     considered disgraceful for her to show her love to her
     husband. This contempt for men goes so far that if a
     wife laments the death of her husband who has died
     without issue, her companions taunt her.... One often
     hears women abuse their husbands or other men in the
     most obscene language, even on the street, and the men
     do not dare to make the least retort." "The wife can at
     any time return to her mother's house, and remain there
     months, sending word to her husband that he may come to
     her if he cares for her."


The causes of this singular effeminacy of the men and masculinity of
the women are not indicated by Munzinger; but so much is clear that,
although the tables are turned, Cupid is again left in the cold. Nor
is there any romance in the courtship which leads to such hen-pecked
conjugal life:

     "The children are often married very early, and engaged
     earlier still. The bridegroom goes with his companions
     to fetch his bride; but after having talked with her
     parents he returns without having seen her. The bride
     thereafter remains another whole year with her parents.
     After its expiration the bridegroom sends women and a
     camel to bring her to his home; she is taken away with
     her tent, but the bridal escort is often fooled by the
     substitution in the bride's place of another girl, who
     allows herself to be taken along, carefully veiled, and
     after the village has been left behind betrays herself
     and runs away."

These Beni Amer are of course far superior in culture to the Bushmen,
Hottentots, Kaffirs, and West Coast peoples we have been considering
so far, having long been in contact with Oriental influences. It is
therefore as strange as it is instructive to note that as soon as a
race becomes civilized enough to feel a kind of love exalted above
mere sensuality, special pains are taken to interpose fresh obstacles,
as in the above case, where it is good form to suppress all affection,
and where a young man may not see his bride even after engagement.
This last custom seems to be of common occurrence in this part of
Africa. Munzinger (387) says of the Kunama: "As among the border
peoples engagements are often made at a very early age, after which
time bride and bridegroom avoid each other;" and again (147)
concerning the region of Massua, on the Red Sea:

     "From the day of the engagement the young man is
     obliged to carefully avoid the bride and her mother.
     The desire to see her after the engagement is
     considered very improper, and often leads to a
     breaking-up of the affair. If the youth meets the girl
     accidentally, she veils her face and her friends
     surround her to cover her from the bridegroom's sight."


These attachments are so shallow that if the fortune-teller who is
always consulted gives an unfavorable forecast, the engagement is
forthwith broken off. It is instructive to note further that the rigid
separation of a man from his betrothed serves merely to stifle
legitimate love; its object cannot be to prevent improper intimacies,
for before engagement the girls enjoy perfect liberty to do what they
please, and after engagement they may converse with _anyone except the
lover_. As Parkyns (II., 41) tells us, he is never allowed to see his
intended wife even for a moment, unless he can bribe some female
friend to arrange it so he can get a peep at her by concealing
himself; but if the girl discovers him she covers her face, screams,
runs away, and hides. This "coyness" is a pure sham. In reality the
Abyssinian girl is anything but coy. Munzinger thus describes her

     "The shepherd girls in the neighborhood of Massua
     always earn some money by carrying water and provisions
     to the city. The youngest girls are sent there
     heedlessly, and are often cheated out of more than
     their money, and therefore they do not usually make the
     best of wives, being coquettish and very eager for
     money. The refinements of innocence must not be sought
     for in this country; they are incompatible with the
     simple arrangement of the houses and the unrestrained
     freedom of conversation. No one objects to this, a
     family's only anxiety being that the girl should not
     lose the semblance of virginity.... If a child is born
     it is mercilessly killed by the girl's grandmother."

Sentimental admirers of what they suppose to be genuine "pastoral love
poetry" will find further food for thought in the following Abyssinian
picture from Parkyns (II., 40):

     "The boys are turned out wild to look after the sheep
     and cattle; and the girls from early childhood are sent
     to fetch water from the well or brook, first in a
     gourd, and afterward in a jar proportioned to their
     strength. These occupations are not conducive to the
     morality of either sex. If the well be far from the
     village, the girls usually form parties to go thither,
     and amuse themselves on the road by singing sentimental
     or love songs, which not unfrequently verge upon the
     obscene, and indulge in conversation of a similar
     description; while, during their halt at the well for
     an hour or so, they engage in romps of all kinds, in
     which parties of the other sex frequently join. This
     early license lays the foundation for the most corrupt
     habits, when at a later period they are sent to the
     woods to collect fuel."

James Bruce, one of the earliest Europeans to visit the Abyssinians,
describes them as living practically in a state of promiscuity,
divorce being so frequent that he once saw a woman surrounded by seven
former husbands, and there being hardly any difference between
legitimacy and illegitimacy. Another old writer, Rev. S. Gobat,
describes the Abyssinians as light-minded, having nothing constant but
inconstancy itself. A more recent writer, J. Hotten (133-35),
explains, in the following sentence, a fact which has often misled
unwary observers:

     "Females are rarely gross or immodest outwardly, seeing that
     they need in no way be ashamed of the freest intercourse
     with the other sex," "Rape is venial, and adultery regards
     only the husband."

The Christian Abyssinians are in this respect no better than
the others, regarding lewd conduct with indifference. But the most
startling exhibition of Abyssinian grossness is given by the Habab and
Mensa concerning whom Munzinger says (150), that whenever a girl
decides to give herself up to a dissolute life "a public festival is
arranged, cows are butchered and a night is spent amid song and

The four volumes of Combes and Tamisier on Abyssinia give a vivid idea
of the utter absence of sexual morality in that country. With an
intelligence rare among explorers they distinguish between love of the
senses and love of the heart, and declare that the latter is not to be
found in this country. "Abyssinian women love everybody for money and
no one gratis." They do not even suspect the possibility of any other
kind of love, and the only distinction they make is that a man who
pleases them pays less.

     "But what one never finds with anyone in Abyssinia is
     that refined and pure sentiment which gives so much
     charm to love in Europe. Here the heart is seldom
     touched; tender words are often spoken, but they are
     banal and rarely sincere; never do these people
     experience those extraordinary emotions of which the
     very remembrance agitates us a long time, those
     celestial feelings which convert an atheist into a
     believer. In this country love has all its existence in
     a moment, having neither a past nor a future."

The authors go so far as to doubt a story they heard of a girl who was
said to have committed suicide to escape a hated suitor forced on her;
but there is nothing improbable in this, as we know that a strong
aversion may exist even where there is no capacity for true love, and
the former by no means implies the latter. Jealousy, they found

     "is practically unknown in Abyssinia," "If jealousy is
     manifested occasionally by women we must not deceive
     ourselves regarding the nature of this feeling; when an
     Abyssinienne envies the love another inspires she is jealous
     only of the comfort which that love may insure for the
     other" (II., Chap. V.).


Abyssinian women are not deficient in a certain sensual kind of
beauty. Their fine figures, large black eyes, and white teeth have
been admired by many travellers. But Parkyns (II., 5) avers that
"though flowers of beauty nowhere bloom with more luxuriance than in
Aethiopia, yet, alas! there shines on them no mental sun." They make
use of their eyes to great advantage--but not to express soul-love.
What flirtation in this part of the world consists in, may be inferred
from Donaldson Smith's amusing account (245, 270) of a young Boran
girl who asked permission to accompany his caravan, offering to cook,
bring wood, etc. She was provided with a piece of white sheeting for a
dress, but when tired from marching, being unused to so much clothing,
she threw the whole thing aside and walked about naked. Her name was
Ola. Some time afterward one of the native guides began to make love
to Ola:

     "I oversaw the two flirting and was highly amused at the
     manner in which they went about it. It consisted almost
     entirely in tickling and pinching, each sally being
     accompanied by roars of laughter. They never kissed, as such
     a thing is unknown in Africa."


South of Abyssinia there are three peoples--the Galla, Somali, and
Harari--among some of whom, if we may believe Dr. Paulitschke, the
germs of true love are to be found. Let us briefly examine them in
turn, with Paulitschke's arguments. Hartmann (401) assigns to the
Gallas a high rank among African races, and Paulitschke (_B.z.E_.,
51-56) describes them as more intelligent than the Somali, but also
more licentious. Boys marry at sixteen to eighteen, girls at twelve to
sixteen. The women are compelled to do most of the hard work; wives
are often badly treated, and when their husbands get tired of them
they send them away. Good friends lend each other their wives, and
they also lend them to guests. If a man kills his wife no one minds
it. Few Schoa girls are virgins when they marry (_Eth. N. Afr.,_ 195),
and the married women are easily led from the path of virtue by small
presents. In other parts girls take a pride in preserving their
purity, but atone for it by a dissolute life after marriage. Brides
are subjected to an obscene examination, and if not found pure are
supposed to be legally disqualified from marriage. To avoid the
disgrace, the parents bribe the bridegroom to keep the secret, and to
assert the bride's innocence. A curious detail of Galla courtship
consists in the precautions the parents of rich youths have to take to
protect them from designing poor girls and their mothers. Often, when
the parents of a rich youth are averse to the match, the coy bride
goes to their hut, jumps over the surrounding hedge, and remains there
enduring the family's abuse until they finally accept her. To prevent
such an invasion--a sort of inverted capture, in which the woman is
the aggressor--the parents of rich sons build very high hedges round
their houses to keep out girls! Not infrequently, boys and girls are
married when only six or eight years old, and forthwith live together
as husband and wife.


It is among the neighbors of these Gallas that Paulitschke (30)
fancied he discovered the existence of refined love:

     "Adult youths and maidens have occasion, especially
     while tending the cattle, to form attachments. These
     are of an idealized nature, because the young folks are
     brought up in a remarkably chaste and serious manner.
     The father is proud of his blooming daughter and guards
     her like a treasure.... In my opinion, marriages among
     the Western Somals are mostly based on cordial mutual
     affection. A young man renders homage to his beloved in
     song. 'Thou art beautiful,' he sings, 'thy limbs are
     plump, if thou wouldst drink camel's milk thou wert
     more beautiful still.' The girl, on her part, gives
     expression to her longing for the absent lover in this
     melancholy song: 'The camel needs good grazing, and
     dislikes to leave it. My beloved has left the country.
     On account of the children of Sahál (the lover's
     family), my heart is always so heavy. Others throw
     themselves into the ocean, but I perish from grief.
     Could I but find the beloved.'"

What evidence of "idealized" love is there in these poems? The girl
expresses longing for an absent man, and longing, as we have seen,
characterizes all kinds of love from the highest to the lowest. It is
one of the selfish ingredients of love, and is therefore evidence of
self-love, not of other-love. As for the lover's poem, what is it but
the grossest sensualism, the usual African apotheosis of fat? Imagine
an American lover saying to a girl, "You are beautiful for you are
plump, but you would be more beautiful still if you ate more pork and
beans"--would she regard this as evidence of refined love, or would
she turn her back and never speak to him again? Anthropologists are
sometimes strangely naïve. We have just seen what kind of
"attachments" are formed by African youths and girls while tending
cattle; Burton adds to the evidence _(F.F_., 120) by telling us that
among the Somali "the bride, as usual in the East, is rarely
consulted, but frequent _tête-à-têtes_ at the well and in the bush
when tending cattle effectually obviate this inconvenience." "At the
wells," says Donaldson Smith (15), "you will see both sexes bathing
together, with little regard for decency." They are indeed lower than
brutes in their impulses, for the only way parents can save their
infant girls from being maltreated is by the practice of infibulation,
to which, as Paulitschke himself tells us, the girls are subjected at
the early age of four, or even three; yet, even this, he likewise
informs us, is not always effectual.

As for the father's great pride in his daughter, and his guarding her
like a treasure, that is, by the concurrent testimony of the
authorities, not a token of affection or a regard for virtue, but a
purely commercial matter. Paulitschke himself says (30) that while the
mother is devoted to her child, "the father pays no attention to it."
On the following page he adds:

     "The more well-to-do the father is, and the more beautiful
     his daughter, the longer he seeks to keep her under the
     paternal roof, for the purpose of securing a bigger price
     for her through the competition of suitors."

Of the Western Somali tribes at Zayla, Captain J.S. King says[148]
that when a man has fixed his choice on a girl he pays her father $100
to $800. After that

     "the proposer is entitled (on payment of $5 each time)
     to private interviews with his fiancée to enable him by
     a closer inspection to judge better of her personal
     charms. But it frequently happens that the young man
     squanders all his money on these 'interviews' before
     paying the _dafa_ agreed upon. The girl then (at her
     parents' instigation) breaks off the match, and her
     father, when expostulated with, replies that he will
     not force his daughter's inclinations. Hence arise
     innumerable breach-of-promise-of-marriage suits, in
     which the man is invariably the plaintiff. I have known
     instances of a girl being betrothed to three or four
     different men in about a year's time, their father
     receiving a certain amount of _dafa_ from each

Donaldson Smith remarks (12) that Somali women "are regarded merely as
goods and chattels. In a conversation with one of my boys he told me
that he only owned five camels, but that he had a sister from whom he
expected to get much money when he sold her in marriage." The gross
commercialism of Somali love-affairs is further illustrated by the
Ogaden custom (Paulitschke, _E.N.A._, 199) of pouring strong perfumes
over the bride in order to stimulate the ardor of the suitor and make
him willing to pay more for her--a trick which is often successful.
How, under such circumstances, Somal marriages can be "mostly based on
cordial mutual affection" is a mystery for Dr. Paulitschke to explain.
Burton proved himself a keener observer and psychologist when he wrote
(_F.F._, 122), "The Somal knows none of the exaggerated and chivalrons
ideas by which passion becomes refined affection among the Arab
Bedouins and the sons of civilization." I may add what this writer
says regarding Somal poetry:

     "The subjects are frequently pastoral; the lover, for
     instance, invites his mistress to walk with him toward
     the well in Lahelo, the Arcadia of the land; he
     compares her legs to the tall, straight Libi tree, and
     imprecates the direst curses on her head if she refuses
     to drink with him the milk of his favorite camel."


The Harari, neighbors of the Somals, are another people among whom
Paulitschke fancied that he discovered signs of idealized love
(_B.E.A.S._, 70). Their youthful attachments, he says, are intense and
noble, and in proof of this he translates two of their poems on the
beauty of a bride.

     I. "I tell thee this only: thy face is like silk, Aisa;
     I say it again, I tell thee nothing but that. Thou art
     slender as a lance-shaft; thy father and thy mother are
     Arabs; they all are Arabs; I tell thee this only."

     II. "Thy form is like a burning lamp, Aisa; I love
     thee. When thou art at the side of Abrahim, thou
     burnest him with the light of thy beauty. To-morrow I
     shall see thee again."

In a third (freely translated and printed in the appendix of the same
volume) occur these lines:

     "The honey is already taken out and I come with it. The
     milk is already drawn and I bring it. And now thou art
     the pure honey, and now thou art the fresh milk. The
     gathered honey is very sweet, and therefore it was
     drunk to thy health. Thine eyes are black, dyed with
     Kahul. The fresh milk is very sweet and therefore it
     was drunk to thy health. I have seen Sina--oh, how
     sweet was Sina.... Thine eyes are like the full moon,
     and thy body is fragrant as the fragrance of
     rose-water. And she lives in the garden of her father
     and the garments on her body become fragrant as
     basil.... And thou art like a king's garden in which
     all perfumes are united."

It is easy to note Arabic influences in these poems. The Harari are
largely Arabic; their very language is being absorbed in the Arabic;
yet I cannot find in these poems the least evidence of amorous
idealism or "noble" sentiment. To have a lover compare a girl's face
to silk, her form to a lance-shaft or a burning lamp, her eyes to the
full moon, may be an imaginative sort of sensualism, but it is purely
sensual nevertheless. If an American lover told a girl, "I bought some
delicious candy and ate it, thinking of you; I ordered a glass of
sweet soda-water and drank it to your health"--would she regard that
as evidence of "noble" love, or of any kind of love at all, except a
kind of cupboard love?

No, not even here, where Arabian influences prevail, do we come across
the germs of true love. It is the same all over Africa. Nowhere do we
find indications that men admire other things in women except, at
most, voluptuous eyes and plump figures; nowhere do the men perform
unselfish acts of gallantry and self-sacrifice; nowhere exhibit
sympathy with their females, who, far from being goddesses, are not
even companions, but simply drudges and slaves to lust. A whole volume
would be required to demonstrate that this holds true of all parts of
Africa; but the present chapter is already too long and I must close
with a brief reference to the Berbers of Algeria (Kabyles) to show
that at the northern extremity of Africa, as at the southern, the
eastern, the western, love spells lust. Here, too, man is lower than
animals. Camille Sabatier, who was a justice of the peace at
Tizi-Ouzan, speaks[150] of "_la brutalité du male qui, souvent même
chez les Kabyles, n'attend pas la nubilité pour déflorer la jeune
enfant._" The girls, he adds,

     "detest their husbands with all their heart. Love is
     almost always unknown to them--I mean by love that
     ensemble of refined sentiments, which, among civilized
     peoples, ennoble the sexual appetite."


A guileless reader of Chavanne's book on the Sahara is apt to get the
impression that there is, after all, an oasis in the desert of African
lovelessness and contempt for women. Touareg women, we are told
therein (208-10), are allowed to dispose of their hands and to eat
with the men, certain dishes being reserved for them, others
(including tea and coffee) for the men. In the evening the women
assemble and improvise songs while the men sit around in their best
attire. The women write mottoes on the men's shields, and the men
carve their chosen one's name in the rocks and sing her praises. The
situation has been compared to mediaeval chivalry. But when we examine
it more critically than the biassed Chavanne did, we find, using his
own data, more of Africa than appeared to be there at first sight. The
woman, we are informed, owes the husband obedience, and he can divorce
her at pleasure. When a woman talks to a man she veils her face "as a
sign of respect." And when the men travel, they are accompanied by
those of their female slaves who are young and pretty. Their morals
are farther characterized by the fact that descent is in the female
line, which is usually due to uncertain paternity. The women are ugly
and masculine, and Chavanne does not mention a single fact or act
which proves that they experience supersensual, altruistic love.

So far as the position of Touareg women is superior to that of other
Africans, it is due to the fact that slaves are kept to do the hard
work and to certain European and Christian influences and the
institution of theoretical monogamy. Possibly the germs of a better
sort of love may exist among them, as they may among the Bedouins;
they must make a beginning somewhere.


T.J. Hutchinson declares that the gentle god of love is unknown in the
majority of African kingdoms: "It in fact seems to be crawling into
life only in one or two places where our language is the established
one." He prints a quaint love-letter addressed by a Liberian native to
his colored sweetheart. The substance of the letter, it is true, is
purely egotistic; it might be summed up in the words, "Oh, how I wish
you were here to make me happy." Yet it opens up vistas of future
possibilities. I cite it verbatim:

     "My Dear Miss,--I take my pen in hand to Embrac you of
     my health, I was very sick this morning but know I am
     better but I hope it may find you in a state of
     Enjoying good health and so is your Relation. Oh my
     dear Miss what would I give if I could see thy lovely
     Face this precious minnit O miss you had promis me to
     tell me something, and I like you to let you know I am
     very anxious to know what it is give my Respect to the
     young mens But to the young ladys especially O I am
     long to see you O miss if I don't see you shortly
     surely I must die I shut my mouth to hold my breath
     Miss don't you cry O my little pretty turtle dove I
     wont you to write to me, shall I go Bound or shall I go
     free or shall I love a pretty girl a she don't love me
     give my Respect all enquiring Friend Truly Your


     "Nothing more to say O miss."


The founders of the Australian race, Curr believes, were Africans, and
may have arrived in one canoe. The distance from Africa to Australia
is, however, great, and there are innumerable details of structure,
color, custom, myth, implements, language, etc., which have led the
latest authorities to conclude that the Australian race was formed
gradually by a mixture of Papuans, Malayans, and Dravidians of Central
India.[151] Topinard has given reasons for believing that there are
two distinct races in Australia. However that may be, there are
certainly great differences in the customs of the natives. As regards
the relations of the sexes, luckily, these differences are not so
great as in some other respects, wherefore it is possible to give a
tolerably accurate bird's-eye view of the Australians as a whole from
this point of view.


Once in awhile, in the narrative of those who have travelled or
sojourned among Australians, one comes across a reference to the
symmetrical form, soft skin, red lips, and white teeth of a young
Australian girl. Mitchell in his wanderings saw several girls with
beautiful features and figures. Of one of these, who seemed to be the
most influential person in camp, he says (I., 266):

     "She was now all animation, and her finely shaped mouth,
     beautiful teeth, and well-formed person appeared to great
     advantage as she hung over us both, addressing me

etc. Of two other girls the same writer says (II., 93):

     "The youngest was the handsomest female I had ever seen
     amongst the natives. She was so far from black that the
     red color was very apparent in her cheeks. She sat
     before me in a corner of the group, nearly in the
     attitude of Mr. Bailey's fine statue of Eve at the
     fountain, and apparently equally unconscious that she
     was naked. As I looked upon her for a moment, while
     deeply regretting the fate of her mother, the chief,
     who stood by, and whose hand had been more than once
     laid upon my cap, as if to feel whether it were proof
     against the blow of a waddy, begged me to accept of her
     in exchange for a tomahawk!"

Eyre, another famous early traveller, writes on this topic (II.,

     "Occasionally, though rarely, I have met with females
     in the bloom of youth, whose well-proportioned limbs
     and symmetry of figure might have formed a model for
     the sculptor's chisel. In personal appearance the
     females are, except in early youth, very far inferior
     to the men. When young, however, they are not
     uninteresting. The jet black eyes, shaded by their long
     dark lashes, and the delicate and scarcely formed
     features of incipient womanhood give a soft and
     pleasing expression to a countenance that might often
     be called good-looking--occasionally pretty."

"Occasionally, though rarely," and then only for a few years, is an
Australian woman attractive from _our_ point of view. As a rule she is
very much the reverse--dirty, thin-limbed, course-featured, ungainly
in every way;[152] and Eyre tells us why this is so. The extremities
of the women, he says, are more attenuated than those of the men;
probably because "like most other savages, the Australian looks upon
his wife as a slave," makes her undergo great privations and do all
the hard work, such as bringing in wood and water, tending the
children, carrying all the movable property while on the march, _often
even her husband's weapons_:

     "In wet weather she attends to all the outside work,
     whilst her lord and master is snugly seated at the
     fire. If there is a scarcity of food, she has to endure
     the pangs of hunger, often, perhaps, in addition to
     ill-treatment and abuse. No wonder, then, that the
     females, and especially the younger ones (for it is
     then they are exposed to the greatest hardships), are
     not so fully or so roundly developed in person as the

The rule that races admire those personal characteristics which
climate and circumstances have impressed on them is not borne out
among Australians. An arid soil and a desiccating climate make them
thin as a race, but they do not admire thinness. "Long-legged,"
"thin-legged," are favorite terms of abuse among them, and Grey once
heard a native sing scornfully

     Oh, what a leg,

       *        *        *        *        *

     You kangaroo-footed churl!

Nor is it beauty, in our sense of the word, that attracts them, but
fat, as in Africa and the Orient. I have previously quoted Brough
Smyth's assertion that an Australian woman, however old and ugly, is
in constant danger of being stolen if she is fat. That women have the
same standard of "taste," appears from the statement of H.E.A. Meyer
(189), that the principal reason why the men anoint themselves with
grease and ochre is that it makes them look fat and "gives them an air
of importance in the eyes of the women, for they admire a fat man
however ugly." But whereas these men admire a fat woman for sensual
reasons, the women's preference is based on utilitarian motives. Low
as their reasoning powers are, they are shrewd enough to reflect that
a man who is in good condition proves thereby that he is
"somebody"--that he can hunt and will be able to bring home some meat
for his wife too. This interpretation is borne out by what was said on
a previous page (278) about one of the reasons why corpulence is
valued in Fiji, and also by an amusing incident related by the eminent
Australian explorer George Grey (II., 93). He had reproached his
native guide with not knowing anything, when the guide replied:

     "I know nothing! I know how to keep myself fat; the
     young women look at me and say, 'Imbat is very
     handsome, he is fat'--they will look at you and say,
     'He not good--long legs--what do you know? Where is
     your fat? What for do you know so much, if you can't
     keep fat?"


Eyre was no doubt right in his suggestion that the inferiority of
Australian women to the men in personal appearance was due to the
privations and hardships to which the women were subjected. Much as
the men admire fat in a woman, they are either too ignorant, or too
selfish otherwise, to allow them to grow fat in idleness. Women in
Australia never exist for their own sake but solely for the
convenience of the men. "The man," says the Rev. H.E.A. Meyer (11),
"regarding them more as slaves than in any other light, employs them
in every possible way to his own advantage." "The wives were the
absolute property of the husband," says the Rev. G. Taplin (XVII. to

     "and were given away, exchanged, or lent, as their owners
     saw fit." "The poor creatures ... are always seen to a
     disadvantage, being ... the slaves of their husbands and of
     the tribes." "The women in all cases came badly off when
     they depended upon what the men of the tribes chose to give

     "The woman is an absolute slave. She is treated with the
     greatest cruelty and indignity, has to do all laborious
     work, and to carry all the burthens. For the slightest
     offence or dereliction of duty, she is beaten with a waddy
     or a yam-stick, and not unfrequently speared. The records of
     the Supreme Court in Adelaide furnish numberless instances
     of blacks being tried for murdering their lubras. The
     woman's life is of no account if her husband chooses to
     destroy it, and no one ever attempts to protect or take her
     part under any circumstances. In times of scarcity of food,
     she is the last to be fed and the last considered in any
     way. That many of them die in consequence cannot be a matter
     of wonder.... The condition of the women has no influence
     over their treatment, and a pregnant female is dealt with
     and is expected to do as much as if she were in perfect
     health.... The condition of the native women is wretched and
     miserable in the extreme; in fact, in no savage nation of
     which there is any record can it be any worse."

And again (p. 72):

     "The men think nothing of thrashing their wives,
     knocking them on the head, and inflicting frightful
     gashes; but they never beat the boys. And the sons
     treat their mothers very badly. Very often mere lads
     will not hesitate to strike and throw stones at them."

"Women," says Eyre (322), "are frequently beaten about the head with
waddies, in the most dreadful manner, or speared in the limbs for the
most trivial offences."

     There is hardly one, he says, that has not some frightful
     scars on the body; and he saw one who "appeared to have been
     almost riddled with spear-wounds." "Does a native meet a
     woman in the woods and violate her, he is not the one to
     feel the vengeance of the husband, but the poor victim whom
     he has abused" (387). "Women surprised by strange blacks are
     always abused and often massacred" (Curr, I., 108). "A black
     hates intensely those of his own race with whom he is
     unacquainted, always excepting the females. To one of these
     he will become attached if he succeeds in carrying one off;
     otherwise he will kill the women out of mere savageness and
     hatred of their husbands" (80). "Whenever they can, blacks
     in their wild state never neglect to massacre all male
     strangers who fall into their power. Females are ravished,
     and often slain afterward if they cannot be conveniently
     carried off."

The natives of Victoria "often break to pieces their six-feet-long
sticks on the heads of the women" (Waitz, VI., 775). "In the case of a
man killing his own gin [wife], he has to deliver up one of his own
sisters for his late wife's friends to put to death" (W.E. Roth, 141).
After a war, when peace is patched up, it sometimes happens that "the
weaker party give some nets and women to make matters up" (Curr, II.,
477). In the same volume (331) we find a realistic picture of
masculine selfishness at home:

     "When the mosquitoes are bad, the men construct with
     forked sticks driven into the ground rude bedsteads, on
     which they sleep, a fire being made underneath to keep
     off with its smoke the troublesome insects. No
     bedsteads, however, fall to the share of the women,
     whose business it is to keep the fires burning whilst
     their lords sleep."

Concerning woman in the lower Murray tribes, Bulmer says[153] that "on
the journey her lord would coolly walk along with merely his war
implements, weighing only a few pounds, while his wife was carrying
perhaps sixty pounds."

The lives of the women "are rated as of the less value than those of
the men." "Their corpses are often thrown to dogs for food" (Waitz,
VL, 775). "These poor creatures," says Wilkinson of the South
Australian women (322),

     "are in an abject state, and are only treated with about the
     same consideration as the dogs that accompany them; they are
     obliged to give any food that may be desired to the men, and
     sit and see them eat it, considering themselves amply repaid
     if they are rewarded by having a piece of gizzle, or any
     other leavings, pitched to them."

J.S. Wood (71) relates this characteristic story:

     "A native servant was late in keeping his appointment
     with his master, and, on inquiry, it was elicited that
     he had just quarrelled with one of his wives, and had
     speared her through the body. On being rebuked by his
     master, he turned off the matter with a laugh, merely
     remarking that white men had only one wife, whereas he
     had two, and did not mind losing one till he could buy

Sturt. who made two exploring expeditions (1829-1831), wrote (II., 55)
that the men oblige their women to procure their own food, or they
"throw to them over their shoulders the bones they have already
picked, with a nonchalance that is extremely amusing." The women are
also excluded from religious ceremonies; many of the best things to
eat are taboo to them; and the cruel contempt of the men pursues them
even after death. The men are buried with ceremony (Curr, I., 89), but
"as the women and children are held to be very inferior to the men
whilst alive, and their spirits are but little feared after death,
they are interred with but scant ceremony... the women alone wailing."
Thus they show their contempt even for the ghosts of women, though
they are so afraid of other ghosts that they never leave camp in the
dark or have a nocturnal dance except by moonlight or with big fires!


Such is the Australian's treatment of woman--a treatment so selfish,
so inconsistent with the altruistic traits and impulses of romantic
love--sympathy, gallantry, and self-sacrificing affection, not to
speak of adoration--that it alone proves him incapable of so refined a
sentiment. If any doubt remained, it would be removed by his utter
inability to rise above the sensual sphere. The Australian is
absolutely immoral and incredibly licentious. Here, however, we are
confronted by a spectre with which the sentimentalists try to frighten
the searchers for truth, and which must therefore be exorcised first.
They grant the wantonness of savages, but declare that it is "due
chiefly to the influence of civilization." This is one of the favorite
subterfuges of Westermarck, who resorts to it again and again. In
reference to the Australians he cites what Edward Stephens wrote
regarding the former inhabitants of the Adelaide Plains:

     "Those who speak of the natives as a naturally degraded
     race, either do not speak from experience, or they
     judge them by what they have become when the abuse of
     intoxicants and contact with the most wicked of the
     white race have begun their deadly work. As a rule to
     which there are no exceptions, if a tribe of blacks is
     found away from the white settlement, the more vicious
     of the white men are most anxious to make the
     acquaintance of the natives, and that, too, solely for
     purposes of immorality. ... I saw the natives and was
     much with them before those dreadful immoralities were
     well known ... and I say it fearlessly, that nearly all
     their evils they owed to the white man's immorality and
     to the white man's drink."

Now the first question a conscientious truth-seeker feels inclined to
ask regarding this "fearless" Stephens who thus boldly accuses of
ignorance all those who hold that the Australian race was degraded
before it came in contact with whites, is, "Who is he and what are his
qualifications for serving as a witness in this matter?" He is, or
was, a simple-minded settler, kindly no doubt, who for some
inscrutable reason was allowed to contribute a paper to the _Journal
of the Royal Society of New South Wales_ (Vol. XXXIII.). His
qualifications for appearing as an expert in Australian anthropology
may be inferred from various remarks in his paper. He naïvely tells a
story about a native who killed an opossum, and after eating the meat,
threw the intestines to his wife. "Ten years before that," he adds,
"that same man would have treated his wife as himself." Yet we have
just seen that all the explorers, in all parts of the country, found
that the natives who had never seen a white man treated their women
like slaves and dogs.


If the savage learned his wantonness from the whites, did he get all
his other vicious habits from the same source? We know on the best
authorities that the disgusting practice of cannibalism prevailed
extensively among the natives. "They eat the young men when they die,
and the young women if they are fat" (Curr, III., 147). Lumholtz
entitled his book on Australia _Among Cannibals_. The Rev. G. Taplin
says (XV.):

     "Among the Dieyerie tribe cannibalism is the universal
     practice, and all who die are indiscriminately devoured
     ... the mother eats the flesh of her children, and the
     children that of their mother," etc.

"If a man had a fat wife," says the same writer (2), "he was always
particularly careful not to leave her unprotected, lest she might be
seized by prowling cannibals." Among the wilder tribes few women are
allowed to die a natural death, "they being generally despatched ere
they become old and emaciated, that so much good food may not be
lost."[154] Would the "fearless" Stephens say that the natives learned
these practices from the whites? Would he say they learned from the
whites the "universal custom ... to slay every unprotected male
stranger met with" (Curr, I., 133)?

"Infanticide is very common, and appears to be practised solely to get
rid of the trouble of rearing children," wrote Eyre (II., 324). Curr
(I., 70) heard that "some tribes within the area of the Central
Division cut off the nipples of the females' breasts, in some
instances, for the purpose of rendering their rearing of children
impossible." On the Mitchell River, "children were killed for the most
trivial offences, such as for accidentally breaking a weapon as they
trotted about the camp" (Curr, II., 403). Twins are destroyed in South
Australia, says Leigh (159), and if the mother dies "they throw the
living infant into the grave, while infanticide is an every-day
occurrence." Curr (I., 70) believes that the average number of
children borne by each woman was six, the maximum ten; but of all
these only two boys and one girl as a rule were kept, "the rest were
destroyed immediately after birth," as we destroy litters of puppies.
Sometimes the infants were smothered over a fire (Waitz, VI., 779),
and deformed children were always killed. Taplin (13) writes that
before his colony was established among them infanticide was very
prevalent among the natives. "One intelligent woman said she thought
that if the Europeans had waited a few more years they would have
found the country without inhabitants." Strangulation, a blow of the
waddy, or filling the ears with red-hot embers, were the favorite ways
of killing their own babies.

Did the whites teach the angelic savages all these diabolical customs?
If so, they must have taught them customs invented for the occasion,
since they are not practised by whites in any part of the world. But
perhaps Stephens would have been willing to waive this point.
Sentimentalists are usually more or less willing to concede that
savages are devils in most things if we will only admit in return that
they are angels in their sexual relations. For instance, if we may
believe Stephens, no nun was ever more modest than the native
Australian woman. Once, he says, he was asked to visit a poor old
black woman in the last stages of consumption:

     "Her case was hopeless, and when she was in almost the
     last agony of mortal dissolution I was astounded at her
     efforts at concealment, indicative of extreme modesty.
     As I drew her opossum rug over her poor emaciated body
     the look of gratitude which came from her dying eyes
     told me in language more eloquent than words that
     beneath that dark and dying exterior there was a soul
     which in a few hours angels would delight to honor."

The poor woman was probably cold and glad to be covered; if she had
any modesty regarding exposure of the body she could have learned it
from no one but the dreadful, degraded whites, for the Australian
himself is an utter stranger to such a feeling. On this point the
explorers and students of the natives are unanimous. Both men and
women went absolutely naked except in those regions where the climate
was cold.


"They are as innocent of shame as the animals of the forest," says E.
Palmer; and J. Bonwick writes: "Nakedness is no shame with them. As a
French writer once remarked to a lady, 'With a pair of gloves you
could clothe six men.'" Even ornaments are worn by the men only:
"females are content with their natural charms." W.E. Roth, in his
standard work on the Queensland natives, says that "with both sexes
the privates are only covered on special public occasions, or when in
close proximity to white settlements." With the Warburton River tribe
(Curr, II, 18) "the women go quite naked, and the men have only a belt
made of human hair round the waist from which a fringe spun of hair of
rats hangs in front." Sturt wrote (I., 106): "The men are much better
looking than the women; both go perfectly naked."

At the dances a covering of feathers or leaves is sometimes worn by
the women, but is removed as soon as the dance is over. Narrinyeri
girls, says Taplin (15), "wear a sort of apron of fringe, called
Kaininggi, until they bear their first child. If they have no children
it is taken from them and burned by their husbands while they are
asleep." Meyer (189) says the same of the Encounter Bay tribe, and
similar customs prevailed at Port Jackson and many other places.
Summing up the observations of Cook, Turnbull, Cunningham, Tench,
Hunter, and others, Waitz remarks (VI., 737):

     "In the region of Sydney, too, the natives used to be
     entirely nude, and as late as 1816 men would go about
     the streets of Paramatta and Sydney naked, despite many
     prohibitions and attempts to clothe them, which always

--so ingrained was the absence of shame in the native mind.

Jackman, the "Australian Captive," an Englishman who spent seventeen
months among the natives, describes them as being "as nude as Adam and
Eve" (99). "The Australians' utter lack of modesty is remarkable,"
writes F. Müller (207):

     "it reveals itself in the way in which their clothes
     are worn. While an attempt is made to cover the upper,
     especially the back part of the body, the private parts
     are often left uncovered."

One early explorer, Sturt (II., 126), found the natives of the
interior, without exception, "in a complete state of nudity."

The still earlier Governor Philipps (1787) found that the inhabitants
of New South Wales had no idea that one part of the body ought to be
covered more than any other. Captain Flinders, who saw much of
Australia in 1795, speaks in one place (I., 66) of "the short skin
cloak which is of kangaroo, and worn over the shoulders, leaving the
rest of the body naked." This was in New South Wales. At Keppel Bay
(II., 30) he writes: "These people ... go entirely naked;" and so on
at other points of the continent touched on his voyage. In Dawson (61)
we read: "They were perfectly naked, as they always are." Nor has the
Australian in his native state changed in the century or more since
whites have known him. In the latest book on Central Australia (1899)
by Spencer and Gillen we read (17) that to this day a native woman
"with nothing on except an ancient straw hat and an old pair of boots
is perfectly happy."


The reader is now in a position to judge of the reliability of the
"fearless" Stephens as a witness, and of the blind bias of the
anthropologist who uses him as such. It surely ought not to be
necessary to prove that races among whom cannibalism, infanticide,
wife enslavement and murder, and other hideous crimes are rampant as
unreproved national customs, could not possibly be refined and moral
in their sexual relations, which offer the greatest of all temptations
to unrestrained selfishness. Yet Stephens tells us in his article that
before the advent of the whites these people were chaste, and
"conjugal infidelity was almost if not entirely unknown;" while
Westermarck (61, 64, 65) classes the Australians with those savages
"among whom sexual intercourse out of wedlock is of rare occurrence."
On page 70 he declares that "in a savage condition of life ... there
is comparatively little reason for illegitimate relations;" and on
page 539, in summing up his doctrines, he asserts that "we have some
reason to believe that irregular connections between the sexes have,
on the whole, exhibited a tendency to increase along with the progress
of civilization." The refutation of this libel on civilization--which
is widely believed--is one of the main objects of the following
pages--is, in fact, one of the main objects of this whole volume.

There are a few cities in Southern Europe where the rate of
illegitimacy equals, and in one or two cases slightly exceeds, the
legitimate births; but that is owing to the fact that betrayed girls
from the country nearly always go to the cities to find a refuge and
hide their shame. Taking the countries as a whole we find that even
Scotland, which has always had a somewhat unsavory reputation in this
respect, had, in 1897, only 6.98 per cent of illegitimate births--say
seven in a hundred; the highest rate since 1855 having been 10.2.
There are, of course, besides this, cases of uncertain paternity, but
their number is comparatively small, and it certainly is much larger
in the _less_ civilized countries of Europe than in the more
civilized. Taking the five or six most advanced countries of Europe
and America, it is safe to say that the paternity is certain in ninety
cases out of a hundred. If we now look at the Australians as described
by eye-witnesses since the earliest exploring tours, we find a state
of affairs which makes paternity uncertain _in all cases without
exception_, and also a complete indifference on the subject.


One of the first explorers of the desert interior was Eyre (1839). His
experiences--covering ten years--led him to speak (378) of "the
illicit and almost unlimited intercourse between the sexes." "Marriage
is not looked upon as any pledge of chastity; indeed, no such virtue
is recognized" (319). "Many of the native dances are of a grossly
licentious character." Men rarely get married before they are
twenty-five, but that does not mean that they are continent. From
their thirteenth year they have promiscuous intercourse with girls who
abandon themselves at the age of ten, though they rarely become
mothers before they are sixteen.[155]

Another early explorer of the interior (1839), T.L. Mitchell, gives
this glimpse of aboriginal morality (I., 133):

     "The natives ... in return for our former disinterested
     kindness, persisted in their endeavors to introduce us
     very particularly to their women. They ordered them to
     come up, divested of their cloaks and bags, and placed
     them before us. Most of the men appeared to possess
     two, the pair in general consisting of a fat plump gin
     and one much younger. Each man placed himself before
     his gins, and bowing forward with a shrug, the hands
     and arms being thrown back pointing to each gin, as if
     to say, Take which you please. The females, on their
     part, evinced no apprehension, but seemed to regard us
     as beings of a race so different, without the slightest
     indication of either fear, aversion, or surprise. Their
     looks were rather expressive of a ready acquiescence in
     the proffered kindness of the men, and when at length
     they brought a sable nymph _vis-a-vis_ to Mr. White, I
     could preserve my gravity no longer, and throwing the
     spears aside, I ordered the bullock-drivers to

George Grey, who, during his two exploring expeditions into
Northwestern and Western Australia, likewise came in contact with the
"uncontaminated" natives, found that, though "a spear through the calf
of the leg is the least punishment that awaits" a faithless wife if
detected, and sometimes the death-penalty is inflicted, yet "the
younger women were much addicted to intrigue" (I., 231, 253), as
indeed they appear to be throughout the continent, as we shall see

Of all Australian institutions none is more characteristic than the
corrobborees or nocturnal dances which are held at intervals by the
various tribes all over the continent, and were of course held
centuries before a white man was ever seen on the continent; and no
white man in his wildest nightmare ever dreamt of such scenes as are
enacted at them. They are given preferably by moonlight, are apt to
last all night, and are often attended by the most obscene and
licentious practices. The corrobboree, says Curr (I., 92), was
undoubtedly "often an occasion of licentiousness and atrocity";
fights, even wars, ensue, "and almost invariably as the result of
outrages on women." The songs heard at these revels are sometimes
harmless and the dances not indecent, says the Rev. G. Taplin (37),

     "but at other times the songs will consist of the vilest
     obscenity. I have seen dances which were the most disgusting
     displays of obscene gesture possible to be imagined, and
     although I stood in the dark alone, and nobody knew I was
     there, I felt ashamed to look upon such abominations.... The
     dances of the women are very immodest and lewd."
John Mathew (in Curr, III., 168) testifies regarding the corrobborees
of the Mary Eiver tribes that

     "the representations were rarely free from obscenity,
     and on some occasions indecent gestures were the main
     parts of the action. I have seen a structure formed of
     huge forked sticks placed upright in the ground, the
     forks upward, with saplings reaching from fork to fork,
     and boughs laid over all. This building was part of the
     machinery for a corrobboree, at a certain stage of
     which the males, who were located on the roof, rushed
     down among the females, who were underneath and handled
     them licentiously."[156]


The lowest depth of aboriginal degradation remains to be sounded. Like
most of the Africans, Australians are lower than animals inasmuch as
they often do not wait till girls have reached the age of puberty.
Meyer (190) says of the Narrinyeri: "They are given in marriage at a
very early age (ten or twelve years)." Lindsay Cranford[157] testifies
regarding five South Australian tribes that "at puberty no girl,
without exception, is a virgin." With the Paroo River tribes "the
girls became wives whilst mere children, and mothers at fourteen"
(Curr, II., 182). Of other tribes Curr's correspondents write (107):

     "Girls become wives at from eight to fourteen years." "One
     often sees a child of eight the wife of a man of fifty."
     "Girls are promised to men in infancy, become wives at about
     ten years of age, and mothers at fourteen or fifteen" (342).

The Birria tribe waits a few years longer, but atones for this by a
resort to another crime: "Males and females are married at from
fourteen to sixteen, but are not allowed to rear children until they
get to be about thirty years of age; hence infanticide is general."
The missionary O.W. Schürmann says of the Port Lincoln tribe (223):
"Notwithstanding the early marriage of females, I have not observed
that they have children at an earlier age than is common among
Europeans." Of York district tribes we are told (I., 343) that "girls
are betrothed shortly after birth, and brutalities are practised on
them while mere children." Of the Kojonub tribe (348): "Girls are
promised in marriage soon after birth, and given over to their
husbands at about nine years of age." Of the Natingero tribe (380):
"The girls go to live with their husbands at from seven to ten years,
and suffer dreadfully from intercourse." Of the Yircla Meening tribe

     "Females become wives at ten and mothers at twelve
     years of age." "Mr. J.M. Davis and others of repute
     declare, as a result of long acquaintance with
     Australian savages, that the girls were made use of for
     promiscuous intercourse when they were only nine or ten
     years old." (Sutherland, I., 113.)

It is needless to continue this painful catalogue.


Eyre's assertion regarding chastity, that "no such virtue is
recognized," has already been quoted, and is borne out by testimony of
many other writers. In the Dieyerie tribe "each married woman is
permitted a paramour." (Curr, II., 46.) Taplin says of the Narrinyeri
(16, 18) that boys are not allowed to marry until their beard has
grown a certain length; "but they are allowed the abominable privilege
of promiscuous intercourse with the younger portion of the other sex."
A.W. Howitt describes[158] a strange kind of group marriage prevalent
among the Dieri and kindred tribes, the various couples being allotted
to each other by the council of elder men without themselves being
consulted as to their preferences. During the ensuing festivities,
however, "there is for about four hours a general license in camp as
regards" the couples thus "married." Meyer (191) says of the Encounter
Bay tribes that if a man from another tribe arrives having anything
which a native desires to purchase, "he perhaps makes a bargain to pay
by letting him have one of his wives for a longer or shorter period."
Angas (I., 93) refers to the custom of lending wives. In Victoria the
natives have a special name for the custom of lending one of their
wives to young men who have none. Sometimes they are thus lent for a
month at a time.[159] As we shall presently see, one reason why
Australian men marry is to have the means of making friends by lending
their wives to others. The custom of allowing friends to share the
husband's privileges was also widely prevalent.

In New South Wales and about Riverina, says Brough Smyth (II., 316),

     "in any instance where the abduction [of a woman] has taken
     place by a party of men for the benefit of some one
     individual, each of the members of the party claims, as a
     right, a privilege which the intended husband has no power
     to refuse."

Curr informs us (I., 128) that if a woman resist her husband's orders
to give herself up to another man she is "either speared or cruelly
beaten." Fison (303) believes that the lending of wives to visitors
was looked on not as a favor but a duty--a right which the visitor
could claim; and Howitt showed that in the native gesture language
there was a special sign for this custom--"a peculiar folding of the
hands," indicating "either a request or an offer, according as it is
used by the guest or the host."[160] Concerning Queensland tribes Roth
says (182):

     "If an aboriginal requires a woman temporarily for
     venery he either borrows a wife from her husband for a
     night or two in exchange for boomerangs, a shield,
     food, etc., or else violates the female when
     unprotected, when away from the camp out in the bush.
     In the former case the husband looks upon the matter as
     a point of honor to oblige his friend, the greatest
     compliment that can be paid him, provided that
     permission is previously asked. On the other hand, were
     he to refuse he has the fear hanging over him that the
     petitioner might get a death-bone pointed at him--and
     so, after all, his apparent courtesy may be only
     Hobson's choice. In the latter case, if a married
     woman, and she tells her husband, she gets a hammering,
     and should she disclose the delinquent, there will
     probably be a fight, and hence she usually keeps her
     mouth shut; if a single woman, or of any paedomatronym
     other than his own, no one troubles himself about the
     matter. On the other hand, death by the spear or club
     is the punishment invariably inflicted by the camp
     council collectively for criminally assaulting any
     blood relative, group-sister (_i.e._, a female member
     of the same paedomatronym) or young woman that has not
     yet been initiated into the first degree."

The last sentence would indicate that these tribes are not so
indifferent to chastity as the other natives; but the information
given by Roth (who for three years was surgeon-general to the Boulia,
Cloncurry and Normanton hospitals) dispels such an illusion most


In Central Australia, says H. Kempe,[162] "there is no separation of
the sexes in social life; in the daily camp routine as well as at
festivals all the natives mingle as they choose." Curr asserts (I.,
109) that

     "in most tribes a woman is not allowed to converse or
     have any relations whatever with any adult male, save
     her husband. Even with a grown-up brother she is almost
     forbidden to exchange a word."

Grey (II., 255) found that at dances the females sat in groups apart
and the young men were never allowed to approach them and not
permitted to hold converse with any one except their mother or
sisters. "On no occasion," he adds,

     "is a strange native allowed to approach the fire of the
     married." "The young men and boys of ten years of age and
     upward are obliged to sleep in their portion of the

From such testimony one might infer that female chastity is
successfully guarded; but the writers quoted themselves take care to
dispel that illusion. Grey tells us that (in spite of these
arrangements) "the young females are much addicted to intrigue;" and
again (248):

     "Should a female be possessed of considerable personal
     attractions, the first years of her life must
     necessarily be very unhappy. In her early infancy she
     is betrothed to some man, even at this period advanced
     in years, and by whom, as she approaches the age of
     puberty, she is watched with a degree of vigilance and
     care, which increases in proportion to the disparity of
     years between them; it is probably from this
     circumstance that so many of them are addicted to
     intrigues, in which if they are detected by their
     husbands, death or a spear through some portion of the
     body is their certain fate."

And Curr shows in the following (109) how far the attempts at
seclusion are from succeeding in enforcing chastity:

     "Notwithstanding the savage jealousy, _varied by
     occasional degrading complaisance on the part of the
     husband,_ there is more or less intrigue in every camp;
     and the husband usually assumes that his wife has been
     unfaithful to him whenever there has been an
     opportunity for criminality.... In some tribes the
     husband will frequently prostitute his wife to his
     brother; otherwise more commonly to strangers visiting
     his tribe than to his own people, and in this way our
     exploring parties have been troubled with proposals of
     the sort."

Apart from the other facts here given, the words I have italicized
above would alone show that what makes an Australian in some instances
guard his females is not a regard for chastity, or jealousy in our
sense of the word, but simply a desire to preserve his movable
property--a slave and concubine who, if young or fat, is very liable
to be stolen or, on account of the bad treatment she receives from her
old master, to run away with a younger man.[163]

If any further evidence were needed on this head it would be supplied
by the authoritative statement of J.D. Wood[164] that

     "In fact, chastity as a virtue is absolutely unknown
     amongst all the tribes of which there are records. The
     buying, taking, or stealing of a wife is not at all
     influenced by considerations of antecedent purity on
     the part of the woman. A man wants a wife and he
     obtains one somehow. She is his slave and there the
     matter ends."


Since this chapter was written a new book on Australia has appeared
which bears out the views here taken so admirably that I must insert a
brief reference to its contents. It is Spencer and Gillen's _The
Native Tribes of Central Australia_ (1899), and relates to nine tribes
over whom Baldwin Spencer had been placed as special magistrate and
sub-protector for some years, during which he had excellent
opportunities to study their customs. The authors tell us (62, 63)

     "In the Urabunna tribe every woman is the special
     _Nupa_ of one particular man, but at the same time he
     has no exclusive right to her, as she is the
     _Piraungaru_ of certain other men who also have the
     right of access to her.... There is no such thing as
     one man having the exclusive right to one woman....
     Individual marriage does not exist either in name or in
     practice in the Urabunna tribe."

     "Occasionally, but rarely, it happens that a man
     attempts to prevent his wife's _Piraungaru_ from having
     access to her, but this leads to a fight, and the
     husband is looked upon as churlish. When visiting
     distant groups where, in all likelihood, the husband
     has no _Piraungaru_, it is customary for other men of
     his own class to offer him the loan of one or more of
     their _Nupa_ women, and a man, besides lending a woman
     over whom he has the first right, will also lend his

In the Arunta tribe there is a restriction of a particular woman to a
particular man, "or rather, a man has an exclusive right to one
special woman, though he may of his own free will lend her to other
men," provided they stand in a certain artificial relation to her
(74). However (92):

     "Whilst under ordinary circumstances in the Arunta and
     other tribes one man is only allowed to have marital
     relations with women of a particular class, there are
     customs which allow at certain times of a man having
     such relations with women to whom at other times he
     would not on any account be allowed to have access. We
     find, indeed, that this holds true in the case of all
     the nine different tribes with the marriage customs of
     which we are acquainted, and in which a woman becomes
     the private property of one man."

In the southern Arunta, after a certain ceremony has been performed,
the bride is brought back to camp and given to her special _Unawa_.
"That night he lends her to one or two men who are _unawa_ to her, and
afterward she belongs to him exclusively." At this time when a woman
is being, so to speak, handed over to one particular individual,
special individuals with whom at ordinary times she may have no
intercourse, have the right of access to her. Such customs our authors
interpret plausibly as partial promiscuity pointing to a time when
still greater laxity prevailed--suggesting rudimentary organs in
animals (96).

Among some tribes at corrobboree time, every day two or three women
are told off and become the property of all the men on the corrobboree
grounds, excepting fathers, brothers, or sons. Thus there are three
stages of individual ownership in women: In the first, whilst the man
has exclusive right to a woman, he can and does lend her to certain
other men; in the second there is a wider relation in regard to
particular men at the time of marriage; and in the third a still wider
relation to all men except the nearest relatives, at corrobboree time.
Only in the first of these cases can we properly speak of wife
"lending"; in the other cases the individuals have no choice and
cannot withhold their consent, the matter being of a public or tribal
nature. As regards the corrobborees, it is supposed to be the duty of
every man at different times to send his wife to the ground, and the
most striking feature in regard to it is that the first man who has
access to her is the very one to whom, under normal conditions, she is
most strictly taboo, her _Mura_. [All women whose daughters are
eligible as wives are _mura_ to a man.]
Old and young men alike must give up their wives on these occasions.
"It is a custom of ancient date which is sanctioned by public opinion,
and to the performance of which neither men nor women concerned offer
any opposition" (98).


These revelations of Spencer and Gillen, taken in connection with the
abundant evidence I have cited from the works of early explorers as to
the utter depravity of the aboriginal Australian when first seen by
white men, will make it impossible hereafter for anyone whose
reasoning powers exceed a native Australian's to maintain that it was
the whites who corrupted these savages. It takes an exceptionally
shrewd white man even to unravel the customs of voluntary or
obligatory wife sharing or lending which prevail in all parts of
Australia, and which must have required not only hundreds but
thousands of years to assume their present extraordinarily complex
aspect; customs which form part and parcel of the very life of
Australians and which represent the lowest depths of sexual depravity,
since they are utterly incompatible with chastity, fidelity,
legitimacy, or anything else we understand by sexual morality. In some
cases, no doubt, contact with the low whites and their liquor
aggravated these evils by fostering professional prostitution and
making men even more ready than before to treat their wives as
merchandise. Lumholtz, who lived several years among these savages,
makes this admission (345), but at the same time he is obliged to join
all the other witnesses in declaring that apart from this "there is
not much to be said of the morals of the blacks, for I am sorry to say
they have none." On a previous page (42) I cited Sutherland's summary
of a report of the House of Commons (1844, 350 pages), which shows
that the Australian native, as found by the first white visitors,
manifested "an absolute incapacity to form even a rudimentary notion
of chastity." The same writer, who was born and brought up in
Australia, says (I., 121):

     "In almost every case the father or husband will
     dispose of the girl's virtue for a small price. When
     white men came they found these habits prevailing. The
     overwhelming testimony proves it absurd to say that
     they demoralized the unsophisticated savages."

And again (I., 186),

     "It is untrue that in sexual license the savage has
     ever anything to learn. In almost every tribe there are
     pollutions deeper than any I have thought it necessary
     to mention, and all that the lower fringe of civilized
     men can do to harm the uncivilized is to stoop to the
     level of the latter, instead of teaching them a better


As regards the promiscuity question, Spencer and Gillen's observations
go far to confirm some of the seemingly fantastic speculations
regarding "a thousand miles of wives," and so on, contained in the
volume of Fison and Howitt[166] and to make it probable that
unregulated intercourse was the state of primitive man at a stage of
evolution earlier than any known to us now. Since the appearance of
Westermarck's _History of Human Marriage_ it has become the fashion to
regard the theory of promiscuity as disproved. Alfred Russell Wallace,
in his preface to this book, expresses his opinion that "independent
thinkers" will agree with its author on most of the points wherein he
takes issue with his famous predecessors, including Spencer, Morgan,
Lubbock, and others. Ernst Grosse, in a volume which the president of
the German Anthropological Society pronounced "epoch-making"--_Die
Formen der Familie_--refers (43) to Westermarck's "very thorough
refutation" of this theory, which he stigmatizes as one of the
blunders of the unfledged science of sociology which it will be best
to forget as soon as possible; adding that "Westermarck's best weapons
were, however, forged by Starcke."

In a question like this, however, two independent observers are worth
more than two hundred "independent thinkers." Spencer and Gillen are
eye-witnesses, and they inform us repeatedly (100, 105, 108, 111) that
Westermarck's objections to the theory of promiscuity do not stand the
test of facts and that none of his hypotheses explains away the
customs which point to a former prevalence of promiscuity. They have
absolutely disproved his assertion (539) that "it is certainly not
among the lowest peoples that sexual relations most nearly approach
promiscuity." Cunow, who, as Grosse admits (50), has written the most
thorough and authentic monograph on the complicated family
relationship of Australia, devotes two pages (122-23) to exposing some
of Westermarck's arguments, which, as he shows, "border on the comic."
I myself have in this chapter, as well as in those on Africans,
American Indians, South Sea Islanders, etc., revealed the comicality
of the assertion that there is in a savage condition of life
"comparatively little reason for illegitimate relations," which forms
one of the main props of Westermarck's anti-promiscuity theory; and I
have also reduced _ad absurdum_ his systematic overrating of savages
in the matter of liberty of choice, esthetic taste and capacity for
affection which resulted from his pet theory and marred his whole

It is interesting to note that Darwin (_D.M._, Ch. XX.) concluded from
the facts known to him that "_almost_ promiscuous intercourse or very
loose intercourse was once extremely common throughout the world:" and
the only thing that seemed to deter him from believing in _absolutely_
promiscuous intercourse was the "strength of the feeling of jealousy."
Had he lived to understand the true nature of savage jealousy
explained in this volume and to read the revelations of Spencer and
Gillen, that difficulty would have vanished. On this point, too, their
remarks are of great importance, fully bearing out the view set forth
in my chapter on jealousy. They declare (99) that they did not find
sexual jealousy specially developed:

     "For a man to have unlawful intercourse with any woman
     arouses a feeling which is due not so much to jealousy
     as to the fact that the delinquent has infringed a
     tribal custom. If the intercourse has been with a woman
     who belongs to the class from which his wife comes,
     then he is called _atna nylkna_ (which, literally
     translated, is vulva thief); if with one wit